Down a clandestine staircase and through a secret passage is a best-kept-secret, the Emerald Room, modeled after a speak easy. One of several spaces within Maryville, Tennessee’s Capitol Theatre, this newest addition to the venue conjures images from the 1920s prohibition-era.

The Theatre, located on Maryville’s bustling Broadway Street in the historic downtown area, draws both local residents and those from throughout the region and country.

The venue goes beyond just a theatre space and offers a unique and glamorous venue for wedding receptions and ceremonies, proms, birthdays and small business and corporate events and provides catering and DJ services.

Capitol Theatre Event Director Haley Schweitzer finds the space covers a wide variety of events.

“We have old Hollywood style and vintage ambiance, but events range from traditional weddings and events to themed events like a 1920sparty,” said Schweitzer. “The space lends itself to many different styles and leaves guest smiling and with fun memories they’ll never forget.”

In addition to the theatre space and Emerald Room, the Capitol Theatre offers a balcony and a 1940s-themed Hollywood Lounge. It even has a coffee and ice cream shop, which is open throughout the week to the public.

The coffee and ice cream shop receives frequent foot traffic from those taking a coffee break during work and tourists visiting the Smoky Mountains and enjoying Maryville’s vibrant downtown.

“About 20 percent of our weddings are destination weddings coming from places like Chicago, Charlotte, Atlanta, and even as far away as Seattle,” said Schweitzer. “The uniqueness of the venue, and the beauty and peacefulness of the Smoky Mountains draws them here. The Downtown Maryville location of the coffee and ice cream shop brings foot traffic in, and some of these visitors like our venue so much they book it for their wedding.”

The venue also draws business travelers, with Maryville and the surrounding Blount County area being a prime destination for conferences and corporate events and retreats. A scenic escape, Maryville is 10 minutes from the McGhee Tyson Regional Airport and has access to major highways like I-40, with the larger city of Knoxville just 20 minutes away.

“The attendees at our corporate events have many hotels and accommodations to choose from,” said Schweitzer. “We’re close to the Airport Hilton, but also not far from scenic resorts like Dancing Bear Lodge.”

First built in 1934, the Capitol Theatre was originally a premier entertainment place. The largest of Maryville’s downtown theatres, it sat approximately 1,000 guests. It closed its doors in the 1970s and then housed a number of different businesses. In 2002, it was purchased by the current owner, artist Heath Claiborne, as his art gallery. In 2008, the building underwent a complete renovation aimed at restoring its former look and created an entertainment and event center with state-of-the-art audio and video equipment. Claiborne’s studio and gallery still resides at the Capitol Theatre where visitors can view and purchase his original artwork and reproductions.

The downtown area of Maryville has experienced a revitalization in recent years. Earlier this year, an initiative to renovate the downtown culiminated with the approval of the Tennessee Main Street designation in January. The designation will open up the city to receive training, resource support and grant opportunities that will assist in the downtown area’s revitalization and economic development efforts.

“We love downtown Maryville,” said Schweitzer.”It’s a great location for the Capitol Theatre. We have lot of great restaurants and retailers, and ample parking. We’re excited to be part of the downtown’s history.”

For more information about the Capitol Theatre, or to book an event, visit http://www.bookthecapitol.com/.

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