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Paramount Theater executive director announces retirement

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The Board of Directors for The Paramount Theater announced today that Executive Director Chris Eure will retire, effective June 1, 2022.

Eure has served as the executive director for the nonprofit theater for the past 10 years. A search for the next executive director will begin immediately.

During Eure’s tenure, she led the theater into retiring building and facility debts and the purchase of the 3rd Street annex building, Stage Left. In 2015, Eure led the board and staff on a campaign to raise funds to recreate and reinstall the iconic blade sign on the facade of The Paramount Theater, an addition that was welcomed by the City of Charlottesville and surrounding neighbors on the Downtown Mall.

The Paramount Theater has increased its annual events calendar from 89 to more than 300 over the past decade, and increased patronage to an average of 100,000 guests a year, all supported by a staff of 15 full-time employees and 144 volunteers. This growth brought not only financial stability to the theater, but paved the way for the landmark to become a significant economic driver for the downtown mall and its businesses.

In 2017, The Paramount Theater was awarded the Outstanding Historic Theatre Award from the renowned League of Historic American Theatres. This prestigious award annually recognizes a single theater that demonstrates excellence through its community impact, quality of program and services, and quality of the restoration or rehabilitation of its historic structure.

Additional winners of this award include the distinguished Fabulous Fox in Atlanta, the New York City Center, the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown, New Jersey, and Playhouse Square in Cleveland, Ohio. The inclusion of The Paramount Theater on this list of recipients recognized the positive work of the Theater.

“Chris’ positive impact on not only The Paramount Theater, but our community as a whole, is significant. For the past ten years, Chris has led our grand dame to become more than just a building, but a thriving arts hub where lifelong memories are made. Whether you have been welcomed to the theater for a classic event on the big screen, an arts education event with our thriving school age guests, or a live event on stage with performances by Diana Ross, Tony Bennett, Renée Fleming, and so many more, you have likely seen Chris welcoming Paramount guests. As a board, we thank Chris for her service to the Theater; as fellow community members in Charlottesville, our gratitude for Chris’ unwavering dedication to The Paramount overflows,” said Paramount Theater Board Chair and co-chair for the search committee, Carolyn Rainey.

As a place for public gatherings, The Paramount Theater was severely impacted by the COVID-19 public health crisis. Closing its doors for nearly four months during the initial crisis, Eure and Paramount staff spearheaded a safe reopening. Not only were safety precautions carefully assessed and implemented, the theater was able to operate during an incredibly challenging time for the community, allowing for a safe experience to enjoy the arts while many stages and screens remained dark across the country. Through community and donor support, the Be A Light campaign rallied the spirits of our community to help see the theater through to the other side of the public health crisis.

“We thank Chris for her dedicated service to the theater. The past 18 months were a challenge that few of us could have imagined. Chris rose to the occasion, unwavering in her leadership, and led the theater to safely reopening its doors and keeping them open during the COVID-19 public health crisis,” stated immediate past-board chair David Gies.

“Our board thanks Chris, and the entire Eure family, for the years of service they have given to our nonprofit Theater. We will miss her leadership and the passion she brought to the theater during the ten years as our Executive Director. As we look to the next generation, we know that Chris’ example will lead us well. We will begin a search for the Executive Director role immediately,” said Craig Littlepage, board member and co-chair for the search committee.