Who's ready for the marquee to be lit up again?
Photo by Travis Thayer, Eagle Country 99.3.
(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) – The Walnut Theater has stood dormant for over a decade.
The single-screen theater on Walnut Street in Lawrenceburg closed its doors for good in the summer of 2009, nearly 85 years after it opened in 1925.
Now, the theater is under new ownership.
BPS Movements, Inc., a nonprofit organization, purchased the building on January 13 for $190,000. The organization was created in October of 2022 by Natalie Noppert and her husband and Lawrenceburg City Councilman, Justin, who will serve as a board member.
While BPS Movements will be the engine behind the restoration of the Walnut Theater, Natalie Noppert tells Eagle Country 99.3 that it will be "quite the community project."
The vision is to create a performing arts space that is capable of hosting unique events such as open mic nights, improv, special screenings, and intimate musical performances.
"We want to engage emerging community leaders that want to do good and be good for the community in a creative space," said Noppert. "It's such a beloved and nostalgic community space. We want to put it back in the hands of the community."
The storytelling is one of the primary reasons BPS Movements purchased the Walnut Theater. Natalie Noppert, a transplant to the area, has heard many tales from Walnut Theater past.
"The cool thing for me hearing these stories is that even I can recognize this is a special place."
The Noppert's hope to have the Walnut Theater restored, active and bustling by the year 2025, which happens to be the 100th anniversary of the Walnut Theater.
To get there, a fundraising goal of $300,000 has been set to help fund renovations at the theater. Work will include installing a new roof, fixing holes in the ceiling, some redesign, modernizing the sound system, installing a green room, and potentially adding tables and chairs. The theater currently includes about 300 seats and a small stage from a concert that took place prior to closing in 2009.
The Walnut is one of two historic theaters remaining in Lawrenceburg. The other, the Liberty Theatre, is an 1896 German music hall converted to show movies in 1921. The Lawrenceburg Redevelopment Commission voted last February to approve a purchase agreement for the Liberty Theater.
The revitalization of the Liberty Theater will create a multi-purpose venue capable of hosting live music for original artists, weddings, business and corporate events, and film, music, and art festivals. Plans also include a restaurant and bourbon bar.