A New Lease on Life


When you first walk into the Indiana Theatre, you can’t help but be amazed by its design, greeted by a beautiful rotunda in the lobby to go along with a magnificent auditorium, created by John Eberson.

“The Indiana Theatre was his first prototype so really the Indiana Theatre started what became the gold standard for American theater design after the 1920s,” owner Rob Lundstrom said.

Through the years, the theater may have been overlooked by the community.

“It’s never been closed and it’s never been lost to the city. It’s gone through periods of dormancy and at times, it’s needed some TLC. But it’s still here because a lot of people have cared and maintained its existence,” Lundstrom said.

Back in 2013, Lundstrom decided to purchase the Indiana Theatre and it’s fair to say he had a vision for the historic venue. “My hope was that we’d make it into an event center, which would really be a place where people gathered and had that special place that the city could recognize as its own. I’ve often told people, even though I’m technically the owner of the Indiana Theatre, I know better than anybody that it’s Terre Haute’s building.

Graduations. Mayoral debates. Indy 500 events. A 30th anniversary showing of the movie “Hoosiers”. Most recently, Donald Trump. Just a few marquee events the theater has hosted. Lundstrom welcomes the high profile events, but it’s not his only interest.

“It goes beyond just trying to have events like we had with the political rally. But it really goes to having community celebration events.”

One recent event was a movie showing of “Where Hope Grows”, a movie produced by a Terre Haute South grad. Hosting nights like these is what Lundstrom hopes to achieve.

“They need to understand the social character of who they are and how they became who they are as a community. So the more we can do things like that through the Indiana and can become a broad based community event center, i think there’s an opportunity to take pride in the community.”

But even the well-known guests couldn’t help but be amazed by the theater, including David Anspaugh, who directed “Hoosiers”.

“When you know somebody who’s been to the big time and they still look at the building and say, ‘this is special.’ It is rewarding,” Lundstrom added.

Guests have come as far as New Zealand and Australia, who’ve said they never expected to find a venue like the theater in this area.

“The part we want to change about that is they should expect to find that in Terre Haute, Indiana. The more we can show the city, the more they can understand there’s a lot more to this than they realize,” Lundstrom explained.

The theater will welcome another fun event this Saturday. It’s called the “Purple Rave Party,” to commemorate the life of Prince. Tickets can be purchased here.

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