Tribune seeks ‘Morris Memories’ as South Bend Theater celebrates 100 years

SOUTH BEND — The Morris Center for the Performing Arts turns 100 this year, and The Tribune wants to hear about your favorite Morris memory.

Tell us what your favorite memory is and why in 150 words or less. Include a phone number reserved for Tribune use. Pictures welcome.

Email submissions to Arts and Entertainment Editor Andrew S. Hughes at

The Palace Theater opened in 1922 and was renamed Morris Civic Auditorium in 1959 and Morris Performing Arts Center in 2000. It celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2022.

Built for $1 million by Chicago’s Palace Theater Corporation and opened in 1922, the theater featured vaudeville acts, silent films and stars such as the Ziegfield Follies with Fanny Brice, George Burns and Gracie Allen, Houdini and Frank Sinatra during its first three decades. .

When its board of trustees voted to demolish the building in 1959 after years of declining attendance, local philanthropist Ella Morris purchased the palace for an undisclosed sum and sold the building to the city for $1, which led the city to rename it Morris Civic Auditorium. .

Upcoming improvements:Parking lot and new seating planned for Morris Performing Arts Center in South Bend

This rendering provided shows what the Morris Performing Arts Center and its block on North Michigan Street in South Bend will look like after the construction of a parking lot that will be attached to the theater to allow patrons to enter directly from the structure without exiting and through the main entrances to the building.

In May 1998, it closed to undergo a $17 million renovation and reopened on March 3, 2000, under its new name and with a new seating capacity of 2,564.

The northern anchor of the city center and the house of the South Bend Symphony Orchestra and Broadway in South Bendthe Morris consistently ranks in the Top 100 for ticket sales in its seating capacity category, according to rankings by publication Pollstar.

For more information on the Morris, visit

The Morris Performing Arts Center in downtown South Bend celebrates its centennial in 2022.

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