Mayor Richard C. Irvin and Paramount Theatre announce that the new Stolp Island Theatre has broken ground and construction has begun.
The new, 98-seat theater will be downtown Aurora’s next live performance venue thanks to a multi-year funding commitment from Verano, a leading multi-state cannabis company that operates Zen Leaf Aurora, located at 740 Illinois Route 59, and nine additional Zen Leaf dispensaries across Chicagoland.
The riverwalk-adjacent location, 5 W. Downer Place, on the banks of the Fox River in downtown Aurora, will open for performances for guests in summer 2024.
“The Stolp Island Theatre will be another live theater destination in the heart of downtown Aurora bringing jobs, patrons, and additional opportunities for exciting and engaging entertainment into our community,” said Mayor Irvin. “For years, the Stolp Island Theatre was just an idea, but through the generosity of Verano and Zen Leaf, the vision has become reality. The team at Paramount is hard at work to create a unique new performing arts space and a first-class show that will be an experience unlike any other in the area.”
Paramount intends for the 9,000 square foot development that includes a 4,600 square-foot theater to offer an up close, intimate experience for patrons. At Stolp Island Theatre, the audience will feel they are part of the show.
Paramount plans to announce the theater’s first production later this month. Paramount officials expect to present more than 400 performances annually, adding $3.3 million to Aurora’s annual economy by inducing spending by guests and attracting out-of-town guests to the downtown area.
“Since our foundation, supporting local communities where our patients, customers and team members live and work has always been a core tenet of our business and point of pride for our entire Verano team across the nation,” said George Archos, Verano Founder and Chief Executive Officer. “Along with providing health, wellness and happiness for millions of individuals every day, cannabis also has a strong and historic intersection with cultural elements including music, art and theatre, and we’re so excited to contribute to Aurora’s thriving live entertainment scene with the addition of the uniquely immersive Stolp Island Theatre.”
“The last few years have been a challenging time for the performing arts industry, but our strong return from the shutdown reinforces how important cultural amenities like the Paramount, Copley, and RiverEdge Park are to improving the quality of life for the community,” said Tim Rater, President and CEO of Paramount Theatre. “We are thrilled that through a partnership with the City and the philanthropy of Verano, we will add another first-class performing arts experience. Aurora already has the best riverfront downtown in Illinois, and the Stolp Island Theatre will be another defining destination in the years ahead.”