We've compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions about the historic Bijou Theatre. If you don't find the answer to your questions below, please feel free to contact us.

How old is the Bijou?

The Bijou Theatre opened March 8, 1909, as part of an already existing hotel known as the Lamar House. Built in 1817 as a hotel and tavern, the Lamar House is the fourth oldest building in Knoxville. It now houses The Bistro restaurant and the theater’s offices.
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When was the first performance at the Bijou?

The first performance held at the Bijou was Little Johnny Jones starring George M. Cohan on the theater’s opening night. In the next several years, performers including the Marx Brothers, Dizzy Gillespie and many others graced the stage, presenting vaudeville, opera, comedy and more. Special guests watched from the elegant boxes on either side of the stage, while Knoxville’s black theatergoers were relegated to the uppermost balcony during the days of segregation.
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What makes the Bijou special?

In addition to being housed in Knoxville’s fourth oldest building, the Bijou Theatre has an atmosphere that’s perfect for live music and the performing arts. Many performers and music fans consider the Bijou the best-sounding room in Knoxville, and with a capacity of just over 700, every seat in the house is a great one.
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What’s new with the Bijou?

After several years producing musical theater, the Bijou’s previous owners defaulted on their mortgage loans and other bills. The theater avoided foreclosure in early 2005 when two Knoxville businessmen stepped in to renegotiate the loan. Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam took the leading role in raising an estimated $2.1 million in needed funds to address the building’s structural deterioration, mechanical systems and accessibility issues, as well as eliminating or reducing past liabilities and creating a two-year operating reserve. Mayor Haslam committed to raising the total amount through grants and donations. “The Bijou represents an important part of Knoxville history and as a performing arts venue, contributes to the growing energy in our downtown,” Haslam said at a March 2005 press conference. At that event, Congressman John J. Duncan Jr. committed $571,608 in federal grant money for the restoration and preservation of the Bijou. Members of the local music community raised additional funds through several benefit concerts, including a Scott Miller show that generated $3,000. The theater closed for almost a year for construction to repair water damage, upgrade the heating and air, refurbish the auditorium seats, and outfit the stage with state-of-the-art sound, lighting and curtaining systems.

On June 2, 2006, the Bijou Theatre reopened as a vital participant in Knoxville’s thriving downtown. Toasted by the community with a celebration and fundraiser emceed by WBIR’s Bill Williams and featuring performances by R.B. Morris, Robinella and Con Hunley and the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra. In the many months since, hundreds of performers from a plethora of genres have entertained audiences and invigorated the Bijou once more.

The Bijou Theatre is a 501(c)(3) organization overseen by the Bijou Theatre Foundation and managed by A.C. Entertainment, the same Knoxville-based company that manages the Tennessee Theatre.
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Can you smoke and/or drink in the Bijou?

The Bijou Theatre is a non-smoking establishment, as is the adjoining restaurant, The Bistro. A variety of beverages are sold at the concessions stand and allowed in the auditorium.
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Where do I buy tickets?

Tickets for shows at the Bijou will be available at the Tennessee Theatre box office on Clinch Avenue (10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday) or online via our calendar section.
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Where do I park?

Several parking lots and on-street metered spaces are located near the Bijou Theatre. The closest parking is a pay lot across Cumberland. The State Street, Market Square and Locust Street garages are free after 6 p.m. on weekdays and all day on weekends. Some on-street parking is available on surrounding streets. Click here for a convenient map of downtown parking locations. The Bijou Theatre is just below the center of the map.
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Is the Bijou haunted?

Local lore has it that ghostly spirits visit the Bijou. After years of reports by stage crew and employees, the East Tennessee Paranormal Society conducted an official investigation. Their report (not for the easily creeped-out) can be found here.
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What time do doors open?

Doors open at least 60 minutes prior to the start of the event.
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Does my child need a ticket?

For most events, the rule is that children who have celebrated their second birthday must purchase a ticket to enter the theatre. Children who have not reached their second birthday and will not be occupying a seat do not need to purchase a ticket. Contact our box office for more information.
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May I bring a backpack?

Backpacks and large bags are not permitted. All items brought into the Bijou Theatre are subject to a security search.
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What if my tickets are lost or stolen?

Keep your tickets in a safe place until the event, but if they are lost or stolen, please contact the box office as soon as possible. Proof of purchase will be required to receive a lost ticket voucher or have your tickets reprinted.
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What is the camera and video policy?

The camera policy varies from event to event depending on the artist. Please contact the theatre on the day of the show for camera policies.
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Stay in the Know

Upcoming Shows

Ethan Bortnick in Concert - a musical evening to benefit The Joy of Music School and East Tennessee PBS

10/27/2016, 7:00 PM

Knoxville Symphony Orchestra Chamber Presents The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires

10/30/2016, 2:30 PM

Jackie Greene and Jill Andrews

11/02/2016, 8:00 PM