RICHMOND, Va. — In an effort to keep Richmond’s Byrd Theatre open for years to come, the Byrd Theatre Foundation announced a ticket price increase.
The $1.99 ticket price will increase to $4 per ticket on January 1, according to Byrd Theatre Foundation Vice President Grant Mizell.
“The new pricing structure includes a $1 facility fee which will aid in the maintenance and restoration of the theatre. This is the first price increase in more than 20 years for the theatre and is a necessary measure to keep the theatre operationally sustainable,” Mizell said. “The Byrd is now processing credit cards, for the first time ever, with a new point-of-sale system. This new, technological addition was made possible by a generous grant from the CultureWorks Grant Program.”
Later in 2017, Byrd will install its first ADA restroom and wheelchair accessible seating.
“What is cool about this is that it is basically remained unchanged from the very beginning,” general manager Todd Schall-Vess recently said about the Byrd. “It is still creating history today. I think the Byrd is an important touchstone in history for everybody.”
The Byrd will also begin a longer term project of replacing its old — and uncomfortable — seats.
“The new seats will be consistent with the theatre style yet wider, and include cup holders. Rows will be spaced further to provide more legroom,” a Byrd spokesperson said.
Byrd officials said the theatre has been losing money for years because — in part — of the changing entertainment industry.
“Where films once waited months after exiting theatrical release before coming out on DVD and rental, it now happens almost instantaneously. Growing popularity of streaming services is narrowing the window of opportunity for a second run business,” a theatre spokesperson said. “Since 2011, The Byrd has suffered dramatic declines in attendance as a result. After 2014’s numbers were reported, showing a second consecutive year of significant loss, the foundation began a deep audit of the film industry and the theatre’s position within that market.”
Movie goers paid 25-cents for a matinee and 50-cents for an evening movie when the Byrd showed its first film — Waterfront — on Christmas Eve 1928.