Traditions & Past Events
Helped greatly by our long association with the Virginia Film Office and The Virginia Production Alliance, the Byrd has become THE place in Richmond to do film premieres. Disney, Miramax, HBO and DreamWorks have all staged spectacular release events at the Byrd. Our association with HBO and Comcast resulted in the premiere of their series John Adams, with Governor Tim Kaine, author David McCullough and actors Paul Giamatti and Tom Hanks on hand.
Most recently, we had not just one, but two premiere screenings of Steven Spielbergs' Lincoln, starring Daniel Day-Lewis, shot almost entirely in Virginia
Actor Tony Curtis, Authors David Baldacci & Tom Robbins, and Comedian Margaret Cho have all appeared on the Byrd stage. Famed guitarist Tommy Emmanuel, jazz harpist Park Stickney and the American Youth Harp Ensemble, Steve Bennett, the VMI glee club and keyboard legend Bruce Hornsby have all played at the Byrd. We’ve had mixed media events such as the Ululating Mummies accompanying Nosferatu and The Cabinet of Dr. Calagari and Pere Ubu accompanying Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. We’ve also had our share of live theatre, including productions by SPARC, New Voices for the Theater, Genesis Learning Center and regular shows from Lyric Avenue Theatre. We’ve played host to the official Richmond Academy Award event and featured silent film classics accompanied in traditional manner by organists on the Mighty Wurlitzer, such as Wings, The General, and Phantom of the Opera.
A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline, featuring Julie Johnson was staged to raise funds for The Byrd Theatre Foundation. A sing-a-long version of Walt Disney’s Mary Poppins netted such impressive earnings for Childsavers of Virginia one year that they returned with the sing-a-long Wizard of Oz. Fund raising events at the Byrd have raised money for drug rehabilitation, education, the homeless, the environment and both the democratic and Republican parties.
The McShin Foundation presented HBO’s Addiction. The Savage Foundation and Education in ‘08 presented 2 Million Minutes. Public interest films such as Dali Lama Renaissance have been shown. We have hosted events for The Alzheimer's Society, The Leukemia-Lymphoma Association and The Richmond Justice Initiative. The Byrd has also served as a location for blood drives, children’s art exhibits, drug rehabilitation and financial planning counseling.
- Business events have been staged by Starbucks, Wawa, CBS, The Retail Merchants Association, The Carytown Merchants Association, JetBlue, Scion and many, many, others. In addition to this, many business have used the Byrd for employee and customer recognition events: Joyner Real Estate, Genworth Financial
- School have held screenings as special treats or for educational purposes; from daycare to high school and all the ages in between. These screenings often feature historical information about the Byrd and the golden age of movies, performances on the Wurlitzer and classic film footage in addition to more contemporary fare.
- The Byrd has also served as a location for live school presentations, such Slim Goodbody, the Hispanic Ballet and traveling Shakespeare.
- Independent Film Screenings – through special arrangements with the Virginia Production Alliance, we’ve made it affordable for local producers to show their independent films on the big screen.
- Social Events: birthdays, anniversaries, recognition parties, proposals and weddings all happen at the Byrd. The memorial for the Harvey family was very nearly a house-filling event.
- The Byrd is a prime location for commercial production companies. Most recently, we were the centerpiece of the new VA Tourism and VA Lottery TV spots and have a background role in two different documentaries about John Wilkes Booth.
- Regular Saturday evening organ shows.
- Signature Holidays featuring sing-a-longs with the Wurlitzer: Halloween, 4th of July, Memorial Day, Easter, St. Patrick’s Day and our traditional Christmas sing-a-long...paired on December 24th and 25th with screenings of It’s A Wonderful Life.
- Santa has often stopped at the Byrd for a few days, for visits and pictures!.
- The new year just wouldn't be new without the ball (RISING, not dropping!) on our rooftop signaling the start of 2013!
- Film Students- Students from VCU’s growing school of Film and Video often use the Byrd as a location for filming...and sometimes as the subject; to date, two documentaries about the Byrd Theatre have been produced by VCU students. Look at the most recent