New “Stolp Island Theatre” to be Built in Downtown Aurora

Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin announced that Aurora will be the site of a new live performance venue!

According to a press release, the people behind the Paramount Theater and River Edge Park will also be taking the lead behind the scenes at the soon-to-be Stolp Island Theatre which will be located at 5 Downer Place which is at the intersection of Downer and Stolp.

It should seat around 100 people covering 6,000 square feet, and by the looks of the renderings, should be a very intimate space.

There are plans to hold around 400 shows a year with the first being announced by Paramount leadership later this month. The first performances are expected to be in the summer of 2022.

Helping to fund the new venture is Verano Holdings, a Chicago-based national cannabis firm that runs Zen Leaf with locations in Aurora, Naperville, St. Charles and more.

I love seeing new business opening up, especially one that will bring back live music, and presumably other performances. Very cool news for downtown Aurora!

Top view and lobby renderings by Jeff Kmiec


Here’s the complete press release:

Mayor Irvin, Paramount Theater, and Verano Announce Partnership To Bring New Stolp Island Theatre To Reality In Downtown Aurora

Immersive Theater Helps City Expands its Riverfront Downtown as Dining, Entertainment, and Performance Destination

Aurora, Ill. (April 2, 2021) – Mayor Richard C. Irvin and Paramount Theater announce that the Stolp Island Theatre will be downtown Aurora’s next live performance venue thanks to a multi-year funding commitment from Verano Holdings Corp. (CSE: VRNO) and its Zen Leaf cannabis dispensary brand. The Theatre will provide an immersive performance experience for guests. The riverwalk-adjacent location will open for performances in summer 2022.

“The Stolp Island Theater will be another live-performance amenity in the heart of downtown Aurora bringing jobs, patrons, economic opportunity, and entertainment into our community,” said Mayor Irvin. “For years, the Stolp Island Theatre was just an idea, but through the generosity of Verano and Zen Leaf, the City is taking this idea from concept to reality. The team at the Paramount is hard at work to stage a first-class show that will be an experience unlike any other in the area.”

Paramount officials intend for the approximate 99-seat,6,000 square-foot theater to offer an intimate, immersive experience for patrons. Throughout the performance, the audience will become part of the show, interacting with the actors, musicians, and other audience members around them.

“We founded Verano to bring individuals of every age, background, and experience together through the health, wellness, and happiness that legal, regulated cannabis provides. Bringing the community together through the performing arts aligns with our values, and Zen Leaf is grateful for the opportunity to help the City of Aurora bring this cultural amenity to life,” said Sammy Dorf, co-founder of Verano. “There is something special happening in downtown Aurora, and we’re honored to support this community-wide rejuvenation.”

Paramount officials plan to announce the Theatre’s first immersive show in the coming months. Officials expect to produce more than 400 performances annually. According to officials, the new venue will add

$3.3 million to Aurora’s annual economy by inducing spend by guests and attracting out-of-town guests to the downtown area.

“This has been a challenging year for the performing arts industry, but our shutdown reinforced how important cultural amenities like the Paramount, Copley, and RiverEdge Park are to improving the quality of life for the community,” said Tim Rater, president and CEO of the Paramount Theater. “We are thrilled that through a partnership with the City and the philanthropy of Verano, we will add another first-class performing arts experience. Aurora already has the best riverfront downtown in Illinois, and the Stolp Island Theatre will be another defining destination in the years ahead.”

About the City of Aurora:

The City of Aurora is the second-largest city in the state of Illinois. Founded in 1847, Aurora is one of the first cities in the country to use electric street lights, earning the moniker ‘City of Lights.’ In addition to our storied history, beautiful architectural and cultural diversity, under the leadership of Mayor Richard C. Irvin

and the Aurora City Council, Aurora is powering up investment in infrastructure and technology at unprecedented rates, making it now the ‘City of Light Speed.” Right now is an amazing time to live, work and be entertained in the City of Aurora. Learn more at


About Paramount Theater:

Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., is the center for performing arts and education in downtown Aurora, the second largest city in Illinois. Since 1931, the beautiful, 1,843-seat theater, graced with a strong 1930s Art Deco influence and original Venetian décor, has been downtown Aurora’s anchor attraction. Since launching its own Broadway Series in 2011, Paramount has amassed more than 41,000 subscribers, making it the second largest subscription house in the U.S. Today, Paramount Theatre is nationally known for its high-quality productions, superb acoustics and historic grandeur.


Paramount Theatre is one of four live performance venues programmed and managed by the Aurora Civic Center Authority. ACCA also oversees downtown Aurora’s newly renovated 165-seat Copley Theatre, RiverEdge Park, the city’s outdoor summer concert venue, the Stolp Island Theatre, slated to open in summer 202 as 99-seat immersive theater space, as well as the new Paramount School of the Arts. For more information, please visit

About Verano:


Verano Holdings Corp. is a leading, vertically-integrated, multi-state cannabis operator in the U.S., devoted to the ongoing improvement of communal wellness by providing responsible access to regulated cannabis products. With a mission to address vital health and wellness needs, Verano produces a comprehensive suite of premium, innovative cannabis products sold under its trusted portfolio of consumer brands: Verano, Avexia, Encore, and MÜV. The company’s portfolio encompasses 14 U.S. States, with active operations in 11, which includes eight production facilities comprising approximately 750,000 square feet of cultivation. Verano designs, builds, and operates dispensaries under retail brands Zen Leaf and MÜV, delivering a superior cannabis   shopping   experience   in   both   medical   and   adult-use   markets.   Learn   more at .

Forward-Looking Statements:

This press release contains certain “forward-looking information” within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities legislation and may also contain statements that may constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking information and forward-looking statements are not representative of historical facts or information or current condition, but instead represent only the Company’s beliefs regarding future events, plans or objectives, many of which, by their nature, are inherently uncertain and outside of the Company’s control. Generally, such forward-looking information or forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as “plans”, “expects” or “does not expect”, “is expected”, “budget”, “scheduled”, “estimates”, “forecasts”, “intends”, “anticipates” or “does not anticipate”, or “believes”, or variations of such words and phrases or may contain statements that certain actions, events or results “may”, “could”, “would”, “might” or “will be taken”, “will continue”, “will occur” or “will be achieved”. The forward-looking information and forward-looking statements contained herein may include, but are not limited to, information concerning the ability of the Company to successfully close the transaction herein (including satisfying all conditions to closing and obtaining all approvals required pursuant to the definitive agreement, including regulatory approval) and achieve its business objectives and growth plans going forward.

Although Verano has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking statements, there can be other factors that cause results, performance or achievements not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended, including, but not limited to: dependence on obtaining regulatory approvals and satisfaction of conditions to closing; investing in target companies or projects which are engaged in activities currently considered illegal under U.S. federal laws; change in laws; limited operating history as a public company; reliance on management; requirements for additional financing in connection with Verano’s growth plans;

the availability of employees; market acceptance of and demand for the Company’s products; the impact of COVID-19 on the Company’s operations; competition; and regulatory or political change.

Although Verano believes that the assumptions and factors used in preparing, and the expectations contained in, the forward-looking information and statements are reasonable, undue reliance should not be placed on such information and statements, and no assurance or guarantee can be given that such forward- looking information and statements will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such information and statements. The forward-looking information and forward-looking statements contained in this press release are made as of the date of this press release, and the Company does not undertake to update any forward-looking information or forward-looking statements that are contained or referenced herein, except as may be required in accordance with applicable securities laws. All subsequent written and oral forward- looking information and statements attributable to the Company or persons acting on its behalf is expressly qualified in its entirety by this notice regarding forward-looking information and statements.