The Normal Theater: A Local Treasure


There are tons of fascinating historic sites in Bloomington-Normal, but the Normal Theater is one of our favorite spaces to explore. Sure, this theater always has something interesting on the marquee – ranging from vintage cinema to cult classics to brand-new documentaries. But this place is far from just a movie theater in Normal, IL. It’s also a community space that hosts local talent and live events to bring arts and culture to the Bloomington-Normal area.

Take a look at the past, present, and future of the Normal Theater and stop in for a show tonight!

Normal Theater History

The Normal Theater sets itself apart from the other Bloomington-Normal movie theaters for many reasons, but its deep roots in the area have made it a local legend:

  • The doors opened back in 1937 and it was an instant hit with the community. The building showcases Art Deco and Art Moderne style by noted architect, Arthur F. Moratz.
  • The Normal Theater became one of the most photographed locations in the area, and Publix Great States called it “A new thrill in theater beauty!”
  • Not only was the theater known for its style, but its state-of-the-art features as it was enhanced with high-fidelity RCA sound technology – along with heating and cooling systems that were a welcome break from the harsh Illinois forecasts!
  • The glittering marquee and the modern flair of the Normal Theater became signs of better things to come following the Great Depression, which made this resource far more than just a movie theater.

The Normal Theater Today

Though the theater went through tough times through the 1980s and 1990s, it was purchased by the town in 1991 and began its new life.

  • As a tribute to the contributions of this community favorite, the Normal Theater was named a “local landmark” in 1991 by the Normal Town Council and Normal Historic Preservation Commission.
  • The theater also began showing unique offerings that weren’t found anywhere else, like classic films and independent works. Special viewings, like sneak previews and Academy-Award nominated shorts, became regular occurrences.
  • The Normal Theater even became a venue for local film festivals like the LGBT Film Festival, Manhattan Short Film Festival, and many others. Don’t be surprised if you run into a few Bloomington-Normal celebrities around the lobby!

Find Out More

Plan your visit to this iconic movie theater in Normal, IL, and why not visit some of the best restaurants in Bloomington while you’re in the area? If you need any more information about the area, feel free to contact the team at Sam Leman Toyota Bloomington today!

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