Morris Performing Arts Center 100th Anniversary


Olivia Rosato, Reporter

John Adams students can support the Morris Performing Arts Center’s 100th Anniversary at a two-day festival full of free artistic performances and traditional festival elements, including a Ferris wheel, beginning September 30th in the streets downtown.

To mark 100 years of the Morris Performing Arts Center, there will be a two-day festival at the end of South Bend’s “Best. Week. Ever.” to celebrate the history of the theater. The festival will take place from September 30th to October 1st, and include a vast array of performers and other entertainment for free to the public. The day will also mark the reopening of the theater after new interior renovations. Several events are set to take place, including free performances for the public on a variety of stage locations. These will include music from The Smash Kings, The 1985, Lalo Cura, the South Bend Symphony Orchestra Quintet, Blammo, and The Why Store, as well as ballet from the pre-professional program at Southold Dance Theater. There will also be art displays and a Ferris wheel for attendees, with food and drink available for purchase. The day will also mark the first official reopening of the Morris, as it has been closed for interior renovations to the theater. 

The Morris Performing Arts Center has been a central site in South Bend since it was built in 1922. According to their website, the interior was imagined by architect J.S. Aroner to feel like a palace, hosting a mixture of architectural styles—hence the original name, the Palace Theater. In addition to the opulent theater, theatergoers over the years have experienced endless live performances with famous artists, including Louis Armstrong, Stevie Wonder, Aerosmith, Fleetwood Mac, Hootie and the Blowfish, and a plethora of Broadway productions. The theater has been threatened with closure multiple times over the course of its history but was saved by philanthropist Mrs. Ella M. Morris in the late 1950s and by a series of multimillion-dollar fundraisers in the late 1990s for the grand reopening in the early 2000s as the Morris Performing Arts Center. 

The theater continues to host local and national artists and entertainers, immersing South Bend in lavish performances and showing great appreciation for the arts. Resident local performers include the South Bend Symphony and Southold Dance Theater, each hosting a series of shows annually with the help of the Morris. The Morris is responsible for keeping the arts alive in South Bend, and local people can reciprocate by celebrating the 100th-anniversary festival the first weekend of October.