Known as the grand old lady of Granville Street, the magnificent Orpheum was built in 1927 as a “picture palace” for mega films like “Gone with the Wind” and as a stage for the vaudeville circuit. Dramatically ornate, the Orpheum features gilt ornamental plaster work, a painted dome ceiling, sparkling chandeliers and the original Wurlitzer organ. Over the decades the theatre continued to mix live performance with movies until television and small rural cinemas made a 3,000-seat movie house impractical. When Famous Players tried to convert it into a modern movie complex, however, the city rallied and a “Save the Orpheum” campaign was launched. In 1974 the City bought the building and three years later in 1977 it was reopened, completely restored and refurbished, as a 2,780-seat concert hall. Later a new, larger lobby was added on to the building and in the mid 1990’s the theatre was acoustically upgraded. In 1977, the beautifully refurbished Orpheum became the permanent home to the Vancouver Symphony, which performs over 80 concerts there annually. Many other events from classical concerts, choral celebrations, and rock shows to performances by international celebrities fill the theatre 200 nights a year so that about 400,000 patrons enjoy both superb performances and the resplendant décor of the Orpheum. The B.C. Entertainment Hall of Fame and Starwalk are based in the Orpheum and they conduct guided tours of the theatre for groups as a fundraiser for the Society.
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