Groundbreaking at New Theater in Downtown Aurora

We’ve known about the plans for a new theater in downtown Aurora for some time, but it looks like things are moving along!

Chris Fotopoulos, Executive Vice President, Verano (center) on a site visit with Paramount Theatre Chief Development Officer Jonathan Jensen (left), Tim Rater, Paramount Theatre President and CEO (back to camera) and Steve Mazeika, Verano Vice President of Communications, inside the new Stolp Island Theatre, now under construction at 5 W. Downer Place on downtown Aurora’s riverwalk. Credit: Amy Nelson

Folks with hardhats are usually a good sign of progress, and that’s what we see inside the Paramount Theatre’s new live performance space dubbed the Stolp Island Theater, named for the island in the Fox River upon which much of downtown Aurora is built. The venue was first announced back in 2021, with a projected opening in late 2022, but the project slowed down a bit. Now, it appears things are moving along quick enough to tease the first performance in the space — more on that at the bottom of the page!

The project was made possible by funding from a multi-year funding commitment from Verano, a multi-state cannabis company that operates Zen Leaf Aurora and nine additional Zen Leaf dispensaries across Chicagoland.

Stolp Island Theater is located at 5 W. Downer Place, right on the banks of the Fox River, one block southwest from the Paramount.

(from left) Stolp Island Theatre Project Manager Creg Sclavi shows Aurora Mayor Richard C. Irvin and Tim Rater, President and CEO, Paramount Theatre, plans for the new Stolp Island Theatre, now under construction at 5 W. Downer Place in downtown Aurora. Credit: Thomas J. King

Stolp Island Theater will be about 9,000 sq. ft and have just 98 seats, making the most smallest of Paramount’s roster of performance venues, which also include the Copley Theater and RiverEdge Park.

They plan to move quickly, with the first show scheduled for this Summer! “What will the show be?” you may ask! Well, we’ll find out for sure on Monday, but we do have some hints! The Paramount has been teasing all of their upcoming shows with a series of emojis, not just for SIT, but also for the Paramount’s Broadway Series and Bold Series.

Can you guess what the first show at Stolp Island will be?


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The minds at the Paramount are thinking big, too! They say, between the four venues, they plan to produce over 400 shows each year in downtown Aurora, which they say will add over $3 million to the local economy.