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, and HBO have all staged spectacular release events at the Byrd. HBO and Comcast presented the premiere of their series John Adams, with Governor Tim Kaine, author David McCullough and actors Paul Giamatti and Tom Hanks on hand. Disney did a special local premiere of Lincoln, which later won two Oscars. We also have done special premiere events for Cold Mountain, Lackawanna Blues, and Killing Kennedy, among many others. Richmonders have turned out in record numbers twice for premieres of the upcoming Downton Abbey season on PBS.
Actor Tony Curtis, Author David Baldacci, Comedian Margaret Cho and writer/actor Harry Shearer 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 last year that they are returning this year with the sing-a-long Wizard of Oz. Fundraising events at the Byrd have raised money for drug rehabilitation, education, the homeless, the environment and both the democratic and Republican parties. Fundraisers for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society have become annual events.
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. The Alzheimer’s Society has had several educational events at the Byrd. The Byrd has also served as a location for blood drives, children’s art exhibits, drug rehabilitation and financial planning counseling. We have been an active part of the Virginia Literary Festival for several years, often presenting authors in conjunction with films their work has inspired, such as Tom Robbins and Even Cowgirls Get The Blues.
- 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.
- Recently, the Community Ideas Station’s Midnight Frights has made the Byrd it home, often featuring Byrd Staff in addition to local celebrities.
- 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!.
- 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