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Gillioz Theatre celebrates 95 years in Springfield

Published: Sep. 30, 2021 at 9:04 AM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - It is time to cue the lights and raise the curtain as the Historic Gillioz Theatre celebrates 95 years of entertainment.

The Gillioz was built in 1926 by M.E. Gillioz on Route 66. Throughout the years, the theatre has survived the depression, World War II, and most recently the pandemic. Theatre executives say that the community is responsible for keeping the doors open.

“We did experience a pretty major loss of revenue in 2021. 2020 was down about 91-92% over the previous year,” said Executive Director Geoff Steele. “We’ve lost millions of dollars in revenue overall, but we’re still here. The community has been supportive.”

During the pandemic, people could purchase show posters to help keep the lights on. Donations also came in even when tickets were not on sale.

The theatre has showcased countless performances throughout the years.

“We started as a transition house, which meant that we were part vaudeville and part silent film, and then we became a straight film house,” said Steele. “Then we were closed for a while, and then citizens got behind renovations to help us reopen in 2006. At this point, we are more like we were in 1926 because films kept the lights on through the pandemic as they did in the early days.”

Now that shows are back on the road, movie and music enthusiasts can expect the next 95 years to be just as magical.

“We’ve been making memories for 95 years and it is exciting, particularly coming off of the pandemic,” said Steele. “So it is one thing to still be doing it, it is another thing to be back after a year and a half of not being able to make memories. For us, it is an interesting mix of euphoria to be back and also to realize, it is just going to keep going. We’re just part of a bigger, bigger story.”

The Gillioz will host a 95th-anniversary celebration on October 9th with The Frontmen of Country. For more information on the Gillioz theatre and where you can find tickets, click here.

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