It’s “Absolutely Fabulous”—and more—as the Belcourt Theatre has reopened last week after six months of renovation and preservation. The beloved local theatre recently underwent a $5 million dollar renovation that includes:
- Expanded lobby space, spanning the entire front of the building along Belcourt Avenue
- A re-positioned box office, larger and on-grade for easier access for all patrons
- Bigger and fully-accessible restrooms
- New second-floor screening room (40-person capacity)
- New second-floor education and engagement space
“While aspects like the lobby and restrooms will feel new and expanded, our two theatre spaces (the 1925 and 1966 Halls) are relatively unchanged, although they will have new screens,” said Belcourt Executive Director Stephanie Silverman. “Patrons will be settling into the same seats, with the same great exhibition we had pre-renovation and that the Belcourt is known for.”
Sports & Entertainment Nashville asked some members of the community to share their Belcourt memories with us. Below are a handful of responses, which cover the gamut of what makes our indie theater thrive.
“Belcourt is a vital part, a friend, of our neighborhood and community. It shows many movies we in Nashville otherwise would not get to see. Last week, I enjoyed a members-only screening of ‘The Freshman,’ a 1925 classic shown in the 1925 Hall. Belcourt is the venue for many wonderful events, including the Nashville Jewish Film Festival and special screenings and concerts. I’m proud to be a member and am glad our friend is back.” —Paul Ladd
“I still remember my first visit to the Belcourt: I was seven years old, and my mom took my brother and me to see ‘Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back’ (when the Belcourt was family-owned). When the show ended, the theatre erupted—everyone jumped up, cheering. As a kid, only a trip to Disney World would’ve been more exciting.” —Jason Gower
“I have lived in Nashville for 40 years and love the Belcourt. I have seen the amazing art of Steven Knudsen in the lobby. I have heard Callie Khouri (“Thelma & Louise,” “Nashville”) speak. I was in an independent film, ‘The Stranger,’ by Scott Crowell and it was the first time I saw myself on the big screen there.” —Susie Monick, Nashville (Hollywood and the Extras)
“The Nashville film industry is booming. Being the ‘It City’ we are on the radar—and not only for country music. Nashville has a lot of local talent; we are a close film family. Belcourt Theatre plays a big role as a venue allowing local talent to debut indie films. We are excited it has reopened!” — Kimmy Inez (White Door Productions, #lovingluke):
“Every time I’ve been to the Belcourt Theater I’ve had an incredible experience! The venue itself is so fun for seeing films or music shows. Last year I did both when I hosted a documentary film about a band that also included a live music performance. The crowd loved it!” — Beth Inglish, Nashville
“As a wheelchair-dependent film lover, it’s so exciting to see one of Nashville’s most beloved landmarks updated and renovated to reflect the changing needs of our growing city. It is so important in the rapidly evolving landscape of our city to continue to focus on inclusion for all, and in that regard, the new Belcourt delivers splendidly. I was there Saturday to witness the hilarious train wreck that is ‘Absolutely Fabulous’—a must for a fashion-oriented person like me, and again on Monday for ‘Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.’ The latter holds incredible significance for me. David Bowie will always be my icon for self-acceptance and fashion-forward-veracity.” — Alicia Searcy (Spashionista)
“As someone who works in Hillsboro Village, I look forward to increased foot traffic now that the Belcourt has reopened. As a music fan and journalist, I saw—at least twice each—the music documentaries, ‘Ain’t in it for My Health: A Film about Levon Helm,’ “20 Feet from Stardom’ and Leon Russell’s 1974 experimental documentary, ‘A Poem Is a Naked Person,’ with Russell present. And I can count on Belcourt to offer— even hold over— relevant current features not always available elsewhere, and older restored prints current audiences need to see.” —Carter Moody
The Belcourt closed temporarily on Dec. 25, 2015. “Macbeth” was a featured film before the renovation began. Appropriately, “Ran,” which transposes “King Lear” to Japan, was shown in the new Manzler/Webb Screening Room on reopening day.
The Belcourt Theatre first opened in 1925 as a silent movie house; the theatre was home to the Grand Ole Opry from 1934-1935. The theatre incorporated as a nonprofit art house in 1999. For more information about the renovation and showtimes, visit the organization’s official site.