Demolition of community staple underway

Demolition work of the Rives Theatre is underway in Martinsville. Photos show glimpses of the work inside and outside of the building. Future plans for the site are undetermined. (Photos by Rives Coleman)

By Brandon Martin

Uptown Martinsville will look a little emptier after the demolition of the Rives Theatre, which was located at 215 E. Church Street.

The demolition follows a Sept. 8, 2019 blaze that engulfed the building.

Rives Coleman, manager of the theatre, said that progress has been slow. He does not yet know when demo of the building will be complete, but Coleman said weather conditions will be the primary factor in determining the end.

It’s certainly a loss, and I know we are all going to miss seeing the old building, Coleman said of what had been a staple in Martinsville.

According to the theatre’s website, “the Rives Theatre was formed in 1932 as a playhouse, then later enjoyed more than seven decades of success as a first-run movie house.”

Before the fire, the theatre was used as a live music venue with a dance floor in front of the stage and roughly 180 permanent seats in the room.

Future plans for the land have yet to be determined, according to Coleman, who said the decision on what to do next won’t be made until after the dust has settled.

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