Center Theatre

The Dowd Center Theatre has been closed since the 1990s. It could reopen in as soon as 30 days, according to a city official.

MONROE — Can you imagine the smell of buttered popcorn as you anticipate the start of a show? Many have missed that feeling while the world suffers through a deadly, highly-contagious pandemic in 2020. But there’s something to look forward to: the Dowd Center Theatre in downtown is almost ready to show films again.

The extensive renovation project is wrapping up and the iconic theatre will likely re-open in the next 30 to 60 days, per an exclusive email from Pete Hovanec, communications and tourism director for the City of Monroe.

“We would love to start showing movies within the next 30-60 days, but that is an approximation as we have to wait until the construction pieces are complete,” he wrote.

Finishing touches, adding required technology and cabling work need to be completed before the theatre can open again, he wrote. When it does, there will be a limit on how many people can be in the audience due to coronavirus-related regulations on mass gatherings set by Governor Roy Cooper.

“Once the Governor makes changes to the executive order as it pertains to mass gatherings, we can explore how to best meet the needs of the public with regards to hosting productions and events,” Hovanec wrote.

The 80-year-old theatre closed in the 1990s. The grand opening of the Dowd Center Theatre was pushed back several times due to unforeseen repairs and then the coronavirus pandemic. The initial completion date for the theatre was October of 2019, per a report from the Enquirer-Journal from July of 2018.