Smile Politely

A look at the new Orpheum Theatre

A marquee with The Orpheum in block letters juts out from the side of a brick building.
Julie McClure

Tuesday evening, there was a grand opening open house at the Orpheum Theatre, allowing community members to take a peek at the renovations. It was restored by preservationist Christopher Enck and transitioned from a children’s museum to a wedding and event venue.

A stack of postcards on a dark wood tables. The face of the postcard says "Greetings from The Orpheum Champaign"
Julie McClure

For the open house, the space was set up as a mock wedding reception with hors d’oeuvres (on tables and passed) from Michael’s Catering, a bar with specialty mocktails, and a full reception set up in the main room.

A view from the second floor of the Orpheum Theatre. The walls are white, and the room is cylindrical. There is a railing along the second floor, and you can see down to a lower level with high top tables and people milling around.
Julie McClure
A table with trays of vegetables, cheese, crackers, and meat. There are stacks of small round white plates.
Julie McClure

There are vintage furniture pieces throughout the venue, creating small sitting areas for guests that want to dip out for a conversation, as well as a sort of private “getting ready” area for wedding party people in the space that used to house the slide and astronomy-themed portion of the museum.

A sitting area with two light blue upholstered chairs and a patterned rug.
Julie McClure
A wedding dress is hanging on a large full length mirror. A black suit jacket is on a stand up form on the other side of the mirror.
Julie McClure
A row of three vintage vanity tables and chairs along a short white wall.
Julie McClure
Two vintage brown trunks are stacked on top of each other. There are a couple of decorative mirrors leaning against the wall, and a large mirror hanging on the wall.
Julie McClure

The main theatre room hasn’t changed much, but looks refreshed. It was elaborately designed for a wedding that is much fancier than mine was, and gave guests a visual of how the space could be used for such an event.

A lighted sign with large block letters that say The Orpheum. It sits on black risers.
Julie McClure
Interior of a theatre space that is set up as a reception with long tables with white tablecloths, candles, and table settings.
Julie McClure
A long table with a white tablecloth and brown wood chairs. There are place settings in front of each chair, and tall floral arrangements.
Julie McClure
A table with a light blue tablecloth and two place settings. There are two large floral arrangements in white pots on top of white pedestals.
Julie McClure

The next addition will be a update of the outdoor patio (previously the dino dig area) for outdoor ceremonies, cocktail hour, and such.

A large sign with schematic renderings of an outdoor patio.
Julie McClure

There are some interesting pieces scattered about, like this old-timey radio.

An old stand-up wooden radio with black and gold dials.
Julie McClure

And this chair, which (I looked up the words) seems to be from a school in Wales.

A wooden chair with carvings of leaves and flowers and words in Welsh.
Julie McClure

It was sort of sweet to notice, on my way out, that these dinosaur feet will be forever cemented (pun intended) in the Orpheum’s history. If you want to read up on all of the Orpheum’s history, you can do that here.

Prints that look like dinosaur feet hardened in a cement sidewalk.
Julie McClure

You can follow updates about the venue on Instagram. I don’t see a link or option to book the space yet, but I imagine that information will be forthcoming.

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