Morris Theater preparing to celebrate 100-year anniversary
SOUTH BEND, Ind.-- The Morris Performing Arts Center has been a mainstay in Michiana for almost 10 decades. The iconic theater, tied to memories for many.
“Mary and I have been married for almost 50 years and so we’ve been going to the Morris for Broadway plays, concerts, other events for the better part of that 50 years. It has become a vital part of our lives,” Morris Celebration Committee Co-Chair Greg Downes.
Greg and Mary Downes, who have been long-time advocates in the community, decided to take their love for the theater and work together with South Bend Venues Parks and Arts to give it the support it deserves as it approaches its 100th year.
“The Mayor and Aaron Perri came to us about 6 months ago or so and asked us to co-chair this committee to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the Morris,” Downes said.
Executive Director of Venues Parks and Arts Aaron Perri said they hope to have a city-wide celebration in honor of the huge milestone when the time comes and if it’s safe to do so. However, this celebration won’t just be a one-day event!
The promise to celebrate the Morris will continue with a planned eventual expansion of the theater itself, and an idea to help fundraise for youth art programs here in the community in the future.
“It’s the center for the arts. And what I think we want to do to celebrate the centennial is to absolutely ensure the viability of the arts in south bend and the entire region for the next 100 years,” Downes said.
To prepare for the project, the Downes gathered a group of community members to help make their vision for the Morris a reality!
“We went out and recruited, we now are up to about 50 people, all volunteers in the community who have agreed to join us in this exciting challenge! Once we get of the ground with that we are going to expand that group into the surrounding counties, and hope to make this a truly regional event,” Downes said.
This plan is still in the beginning stages. There is no set date on when the expansion or celebration itself will take place.