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Gloria – The Musical

Be a sponsor for “Gloria – The Musical” by clicking on the gofundme image.

Performances are July 1, 2, 9 & 10. Your name will appear in the playbill as well as on our Facebook page and web site. 100% of the proceeds go toward the revitalization and operation of the theater. Reserve your tickets in advance here.


WELCOME to The GrandWorks Foundation. We are a community-based, non-profit organization tasked with the revitalization, operation and maintenance of the Gloria Theatre  in Urbana, Ohiohome of the Urbana University Blue KnightsThe Gloria is a 350 seat, multi-purpose entertainment, business and community center located at 216 S. Main Street in Urbana. Plan your next production or event at the Gloria. Thanks for visiting!

Vision. Our vision is for the Urbana and Champaign County Community to own, operate and preserve the Gloria Theatre as a multi-purpose arts, entertainment and events venue for generations.

Mission. Our mission is to make the capital improvements and establish the calendar of events and activities necessary for creating a self-sustaining business model. When that mission is complete, our intention is to gift the Gloria to the community as an asset that is well positioned for continued success. Central to this theme is the establishment of the Gloria as an economic engine designed to attract new business opportunities and people who see Champaign County as a great place to visit and establish roots.

The digital equipment has been ordered. Before summer is over, you will be enjoying the benefits in the comfort of the Gloria Theatre. We will be announcing our next big initiative soon!

Meanwhile, keep up on Gloria Theatre news by subscribing to our newsletter. 

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The Purpose. Our purpose is to reach, restore and revive. We are driven to:

  • Reach the citizens of Champaign and surrounding counties – serving them as a center for entertainment, performing and visual arts, youth-based events, business and club meetings and Christian outreach.
  • Restore and transform a community treasure into a vibrant community center – with the Gloria Theatre as the centerpiece.
  • Revive the community and region – as it enriches the lives of all who live and visit here – socially, culturally, economically and spiritually.
Clifford Theatre, theater, Urbana, Ohio
Interior Clifford Theatre


ACT ONE of the theater began in 1905. Urbana native Billy Clifford, a leading vaudevillian, built the Clifford Theatre at a cost of $75,000 (over $2 million by today’s standards). The Clifford hosted many popular entertainers such as John Philip Sousa. It drew large crowds at 10 cents for two adults and free tickets for children. In 1918, fire significantly damaged the building.

With Billy’s passing, the Clifford fell in to disrepair closed in the 1930’s.

Gloria Theatre, theater, Urbana, Ohio
Gloria Exterior- 1947

ACT TWO began in 1940 when local aviation lighting pioneer and industrialist Warren Grimes purchased the theater. He invested $100,000 (over $1.7 million by today’s standards) to remodel and convert it in to a movie and event theater. Re-opened on Christmas day, 1941, Grimes renamed it the Gloria Theatre, for his youngest daughter, declaring the theater his gift to the community. Thirty years later, Chakeres Theaters purchased the Gloria, converting it in to a twin cinema. The Urbana Twin Cinemas served the community until 2013.


ACT THREE began when the Urbana United Methodist Church purchased the theater in 2014 with the intention of gifting it back to the community through GrandWorks. The GrandWorks Foundation, a non-profit community-based organization, oversees the revitalization, maintenance and operation of the theater. GrandWorks has returned the facility to its previous name, the Gloria Theatre.

A capital investment budget – very similar to that of Warren Grimes’ in 1940 – has been set at $1.2 million for the initial two phases of Project Gloria, excluding volunteer labor, paid staff, on-going operating expenses, and debt service on the property.