About the Friends
The Friends of the Orpheum Theatre is a volunteer organization whose purpose is to provide educational and fundraising support for the Orpheum Theatre, which is owned and operated by the City of Phoenix, Convention Center & Venues.
The City of Phoenix purchased the theatre site in 1984 and community support, spearheaded by the Junior League of Phoenix with an initial gift of $50,000 led to placing the theatre on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985 and an endowment to begin lobby restoration. Two years later, the Junior League established the Orpheum Theatre Foundation with a $150,000 grant to promote, raise funds for, and otherwise oversee the historic preservation and operation of the Theatre.
The Friends of the Orpheum was officially established in November 1993 as the “support arm of the Orpheum Theatre Foundation”. Members were comprised of community volunteers who provided active service toward preservation, rehabilitation and reuse of the historic Orpheum Theatre.
Our first official, and very successful, membership drive for the Friends was begun in September of 1996. The Grand Reopening of the beautifully restored Orpheum Theatre took place on January 29, 1997 and the Friends continued to provide active volunteers in-theatre (ushers and docents) and external (community education and outreach) support. In 2001 the Friends separated from the Orpheum Theatre Foundation and became a 501 (C) 3 non-profit corporation in March of 2002.
For the next eight years, the Friends managed the training and scheduling of volunteer ushers for events and docents to provide tours of the restored theatre, and in 2010, these activities were turned over to the City of Phoenix Convention Center and Venues. The Friends provide ongoing support to the city for training of these active volunteers.
The Friends have since redirected their mission to continue to: Support and expand the Outreach Program which provides free tickets to members of the community who might otherwise not be able to attend performances at the Theatre; and raise funds for specific projects benefitting the Theatre and the community.
Your membership in the Friends of the Orpheum Theatre will enable us to continue our support for and develop new projects that will enhance the Theatre itself as an historical asset and its ongoing, unique contribution to the life and history of Phoenix, the Valley, and the State of Arizona.