812.323.3020 114 E Kirkwood Ave. Bloomington, IN 47408
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Private Events

The Buskirk-Chumley Theater is available to rent for any sort of private event, from birthday parties to corporate retreats. With seating for up to 629 in the auditorium or up to 50 on stage, this versatile space is great for gatherings large and small. The lobby, mezzanine, and dressing rooms are all available for your use. If you are interested in renting the building, check out our availability calendar to confirm that your date is not already booked, and then contact Executive Director Danielle McClelland at 812.323.3020 or director@buskirkchumley.org.


Local corporations bring their employees to the Buskirk-Chumley Theater for annual meetings, appreciation events, and training. With seating for 629, the Theater provides a comfortable off-site location for education, inspiration, and social activities. Show a film, present an employee talent show, or make a presentation. Provide a catered reception or a talk about the history of the theater as part of your day’s activities.


If your event doesn’t need the stage and lots of seating, the Buskirk-Chumley Theater lobby may be the perfect place for your reception, party, or other gathering. The lobby, which includes the second-floor mezzanine overlooking the lobby entrance, is perfect for events where people will mix and mingle. The theater balcony is also available for additional space and seating. This elegant space requires little decoration and is easily individualized for your event. Groups are limited to 100 people in the lobby (250 with additional balcony rental). Your rental includes:

  • ten eight-foot tables with burgundy full-length tablecloths, arranged as needed;
  • an experienced house manager to help your event run smoothly; and
  • five hours of use, including your set-up and clean-up time.

Lobby Rental Fees:

  • $300 – Lobby rental
  • $100 – Access to balcony seating area, in addition to lobby and mezzanine, during event
  • $15 – Ticketing or guest list services, including online and box-office sales, if applicable
  • $150 – Catering fee, if you choose to bring in additional food from a licensed caterer

Concessions Service:

  • Oliver Winery wine, Upland Brewing Company beer, and Cardinal Spirits liquors are available for $3-$5 per glass.
  • Soda, bottled water, popcorn, and other snacks are available for $1-$2 each.

Personalize the Space:

  • An optional “bar” can create an additional waist-high surface in the balcony, providing space for decorations, a silent auction, or snacks.
  • Elegant, exotic, or entertaining – events in the BCT lobby have included a string trio, belly dancers, and a fun photo booth.
  • BCT concessions, from BLU Boy chocolates to buttery popcorn, can be available for sale or distribution to guests.

Please note that this space is not ideal for gatherings with seated meals or events that include speeches or presentations that require a large group to gather in one location. The lobby, concessions, and restrooms are wheelchair accessible, but the mezzanine and balcony can only be accessed via stairs.


The historic Buskirk-Chumley Theater is a versatile location for any style of wedding. Looking for fun? One couple invited friends and family to perform a talent show on the stage during the reception. Seeking elegance? This 1922 theater needs very little decoration to be inviting. Ready to dance? The stage or the orchestra pit can be used as a dance floor. And don’t forget about the marquee, which will welcome guests to your big day, along with the flashing lights of the historic Indiana sign.

Frequently Asked Questions

A wedding in a theater? How will this work?
We plan events every day at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater and can talk to you about how best to use all the spaces available to you (mezzanine, lobby, stage, dressing rooms, etc.). Schedule a tour to learn how this space can make your wedding dreams come true.

Does the BCT provide catering?
We can provide locally-sourced concessions and bar service. Upland Brewing Company and wine from Oliver Winery at $3 per glass (tier two wines available for $5 per glass). Cardinal Spirits cocktails are available at $5 per glass. If it suits your wedding, we can open our concessions area and provide organic Fields of Agape popcorn ($1), soda ($1), bottled water ($1), BLU Boy cookies and chocolate bars ($2), and Bloomingfoods snack mixes ($2). Otherwise, the theater does not handle catering but will help you coordinate with catering vendors. If you choose to bring in outside concessions, there will be a $150 cleaning fee. Buffet lines make the best use of our space, on stage or in the lobby.

What about tables and chairs?
We have a limited number of six-foot tables available for your use, included in your rental fee. And, of course, the theater comes with seating for more than 500 (305 seats on the orchestra level). Additional tables may be rented elsewhere, but it should be noted that the theater is not suited for large seated meals, as open space for tables with seating is limited to the stage and orchestra pit.

Can the theater play music at my reception?
The theater comes with high-quality lighting and sounds systems and the professionals to run the equipment. You can play music, shine in a spotlight, or show a movie.

Is there a disco ball?
Why yes, there is a disco ball. That’s included in the rental as well.

What about parking?
Parking is plentiful, and we will happily direct your guests to the free parking options available downtown. Don’t forget that all parking is free on Sundays.

Where can my out-of-town guests stay?
Downtown Bloomington features several lovely hotel options within easy walking distance of the theater.

Can we get creative?
A recent wedding at the BCT included a parade down Kirkwood Avenue. Another couple created their own backdrop to hang behind the stage. The BCT supports creativity and the arts in all forms, including wedding planning.

Can we burn candles?
The terms and conditions document you will sign as part of your contract forbids smoking and/or the burning of any substance within the theater. Please help us protect this historic building by not including candles in your ceremony.

When can we start setting up?
A one-day rental of the theater gives you access to the space from 8am to midnight. If you need to begin setting up a day in advance, an additional day’s rent would be charged at the lower rehearsal rate.

How much does it cost?
Rental rates vary by month and day of the week, and additional costs will depend on what special features your wedding will include. Check out our availability calendar and rate information to help you start on your budget. Feel free to contact us with any questions.

The total cost will include rent (based on month and day of week), technical labor fees (minimum of $250, we can work with you to come up with an estimate based on your plans), concession costs (if any), cleaning fee (if using an outside caterer), and equipment fees ($150 for use of the piano, projector and screen, or stage extension). Our tables, chairs, linen, stage equipment, on-site staff, and use of the building from 8am to midnight is included in the rental charge.

What’s the first step?
When you are ready to schedule your wedding, the theater can be placed on hold for no more than 14 days. After this time, the date must be secured with a signed contract and a minimum $200/day non-refundable deposit.

Your BCT wedding will create wonderful memories that can be revisited each time you return for a concert or play. For a donation of $500, your names can be engraved on an armrest to commemorate your special day. We can also suggest BCT ornaments and enamel pins, available for sale in our box office, as gifts for your wedding party.

Ready for more information or a tour of the building? Check out our availability calendar to confirm that your date is not already booked, and then contact Executive Director Danielle McClelland at 812.323.3022 or director@buskirkchumley.org.