RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – The Byrd Theatre in Carytown is one of the best places to watch a movie in Richmond. Just not one of the most comfortable.
“Sitting in the existing seats during a two- hour plus movie is a testament to your love for cinema in general and the Byrd specifically,” Byrd general manager Todd Schall-Vess said about the theater’s 80-year-old seats. “It’s not the most comfortable experience in Richmond.”
That is one reason why movie lovers should be happy to hear the Byrd is in line to get new seats, well, new to them at least.
The Grand Théâtre Lumière in France plans to give the Byrd its old seats after this May’s Cannes film festival, Schall-Vess said.
WATCH: Video tour of the Grand Théâtre Lumière
Schall-Vess said the Byrd did not lobby for the seats, rather Cannes organizers were aware of the Byrd’s seat issues due to its involvement with the French Film Festival in Richmond.
“They are not donating the seats to the Byrd because the Byrd hosts the French Film Festival,” Schall-Vess said. “They recognize the Byrd is a singular movie-going experience.”
While a lot has to get done before the seats can be shipped from France and installed in Richmond, Schall-Vess said best-case scenario would be to have the new seats in place by the Byrd’s 86th birthday in December.
The Byrd would ultimately like to buy brand new seats designed specifically for the theater, using historic elements from its old seats, but Schall-Vess admitted that could be a decade or more away. He said other renovations need to be addressed first.
The Byrd Theater opened in 1928. It is listed as Virginia Historic Landmark and on the National Register of Historic Places.