618 Main St. Rochester, IN

Our Mission

At Times Theater, we are on a passionate mission to kindle the spirit of community and connection through the magic of live music, movies, art, and enriching events. Our historic theater in the heart of Rochester, Indiana, has a cherished legacy that spans generations, and we’re committed to ensuring it remains a cornerstone of the community for years to come.

Our Vision

At Times Theater, our vision is to be the vibrant heart of our community, where creativity knows no bounds and shared experiences are cherished. We aim to continually elevate the cultural landscape of Rochester, Indiana, by offering a diverse range of live music, cinematic wonders, and artistic expression. We envision a future where Times Theater remains a beacon of artistic innovation, fostering connections and forging lasting memories for generations to come.

Board Members

Julie Shambarger

Julie Shambarger

Jim Mulligan

Jim Mulligan

Tammy Williams

Tammy Williams

Rick Abbott

Randy Sutton

Randy Sutton

board member

Cindy Mclochlin

Board members

Jim and Angie

The Backstory

Discover the Rich Legacy of The Times Theater

The Fulton County Courthouse stands as an iconic symbol of downtown Rochester, but a close second in recognition is the timeless marquee of The Times Theater. In 2023, this distinguished signage underwent a complete restoration, ensuring it remains a cherished fixture on Main Street for generations to come. It serves as a neon beacon for a vintage movie-house with a storied history dating back to the Roaring Twenties.

On Valentine’s Day in 1924, the Char-Bell Theater debuted to an enthusiastic Rochester audience. Although not the town’s first theater, it quickly became the favorite. With an 800-seat capacity, the Char-Bell showcased silent films, vaudeville acts, and various live performances over the years. In 1941, under new ownership, it was reborn as The Times Theater, complete with a new marquee.

The Times continued to thrive, changing hands and adapting to evolving tastes over the years. Through the 1960s, it hosted dance recitals, and in the 1970s, the auditorium was divided to offer moviegoers more choices.

However, the 21st century brought new challenges as home entertainment options expanded. Cable television, home video, and the internet drew audiences away from theaters. The film industry responded with innovative technologies, but the cost of updating equipment, coupled with declining attendance, proved insurmountable. In January 2014, The Times Theater closed its doors.

Fast forward to Valentine’s Day 2023, and The Times Theater triumphantly reopened its doors, marking 99 years since its original debut!

The Legacy Continues

Experience the Rebirth of The Times Theater

On February 14, 2023, The Times Theater proudly reopened its doors, thanks to the vision of a group of Rochester citizens who believed in its potential as a nostalgic venue for live music, movies, and community events. After forming as a not-for-profit organization, this group initiated essential work on the venue’s interior.

Over the past few years, substantial progress occurred behind the scenes at The Times Theater, made possible by the Northern Indiana Community Foundation and the generosity of donors like you. Major structural improvements include a new theater roof, asbestos abatement, and strengthened stage support to meet state occupancy requirements. Notably, the iconic marquee has been lovingly restored and now shines brighter than ever.

The ticket booth is open, the lobby exudes a vibrant atmosphere with unique artwork by local legends Jim Scott and Angie Anderson, and the concession stand is fully stocked. The lobby’s captivating decor sets the stage for an enhanced theater experience, featuring custom table seating and spacious seating arrangements.

Plumbing systems have been updated in existing restrooms, with the addition of an ADA accessible restroom and seating areas for ADA compliance. Furnaces have been serviced, and a concrete curb was added to prevent groundwater penetration and brick separation. Exit signs and emergency lighting, as required by local code, have been installed.

We’ve come a long way, and the journey continues. Join us at The Times Theater to witness the next chapter in our vibrant history.

Rediscover the Past. Embrace the Present. Create New Memories for the Future.

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