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Orpheum Auditorium Interior Restoration, Champaign

After the ceiling was completed, work continued on the rest of the auditorium interior. Plaster was failing and paint peeling all over the auditorium — on the walls, the loge boxes (little balconies), the columns. In some places, it was possible to repair plaster, but on the  walls the plaster was removed down to the lath and replaced with drywall.

Many of the mouldings around the doorways needed repair or replacement. Around 20 of the “Greek key” mouldings had to be refabricated from an original. To learn more about the process of refabricating mouldings, see Orpheum Plaster Moulding Restoration.

The bottom of the loge boxes were saved by using special glues and re-securing the plaster to the lath. Once the glue set up, the screws were removed, and the holes filled.

When the mezzanine was restructured as part of the Children’s Museum, the loge box entrances were framed in and drywalled on the Museum side. During this phase, the Auditorium side was also drywalled.

After all the demolition, the plaster repair, the drywalling, and numerous other issues were addressed, the paint brought everything together. The floor and the stage area were not addressed during this restoration phase.

In October of 2009, ninety-five years after the New Orpheum Theatre opened, a fundraising wine gala was held to celebrate the restoration of the auditorium.

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