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Input Needed to Bring the Historic Heart Theatre Back to Life


During the next four weeks, anyone with an opinion about the future programming of the Historic Heart Theatre will have an opportunity to express it.

Local community investors hired the firm Historic Theatre Consultants to conduct a market feasibility study of The Heart Theatre to help determine the future use and operation of the Theatre when it reopens. Theatre patrons and interested area residents and businesses are asked to visit to complete a short online survey about future programming and other improvements.

The new Heart Theatre owner, Amy Van Bergen, is partnering with local leaders on this project to guide future programming as well as key amenities needed to attract users and audience for the reuse of the Theatre. Consultants will be on-site November 3- 6 to conduct first-hand research of the Effingham marketplace including interviews, focus groups and a tour of the area. The team includes Herb Stratford, Historic Theatre Consultants of Tucson, AZ and Mary Bosch with Marketek, Portland, OR.

Community members interested in sharing input about future programming are invited to an open one-hour meeting on Saturday morning, Nov. 5, 10-11AM at Effingham City Hall, 201 E. Jefferson Ave., Effingham. The community and business surveys will also be available from Oct. 14 – Nov. 8 at

“I love The Heart Theatre and am so grateful to everyone who has championed this project from Erich Kollinger with his eye for historic restoration to past owners like the Sligar, Stephens and Frisina families. I know that with everyone’s input, we will see The Heart revived and reestablished as an anchor in Downtown Effingham for all to enjoy again," Van Bergen said.

Lead consultant, Herb Stratford, commented: "The Historic Heart Theatre can play an important role in the vitality of Downtown Effingham and the community overall. By understanding the needs and wants of local residents, visitors and businesses and also of the larger region, we can successfully plan for the near future and the long-term survival of this unique historic asset."


This item was released to the press on 10/13/2022. Contact: Amy Van Bergen, 407-619-3862.

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