Morris Performing Arts Center

A True Crown Jewel

The Morris Performing Arts Center in downtown South Bend is one of the region’s – if not the state’s – entertainment crown jewels.

Mary Ellen Smith, assistant director of administration and marketing for the center, says, “It’s the gem of downtown South Bend. It is an anchor for the downtown.”

The recently completed Jon R. Hunt Plaza in front of the Morris has become a focal point for downtown, providing weekly free concerts that attract office workers on their lunch break.

Smith says that even with a performing arts center on the campus at the University of Notre Dame, there is little overlap between the two.

“Notre Dame has more cultural programs and has 900 seats,” she says. The Morris has 2,560 seats, and among the most recent performers to appear there were Huey Lewis, Darius Rucker, and Garrison Keillor.

“We book rock, Christian, country and jazz acts,” says Smith. “And we’re also home for the South Bend Symphony Orchestra.” Smith adds that traveling Broadway shows are also booked at the Morris.

“We have top rated shows, and our tickets are priced cheaper,” says Smith. “We’re consistently listed in the Pollstar Top 100 theater venues.” Morris Performing Arts Center compares favorably in its bookings with such well-known entertainment venues as Radio City Music Hall in New York, the Fox in Detroit and Atlanta, and Chicago Theatre.

“This is a historical vaudeville theater,” says Smith. Built in 1921, the building has undergone more than $17.4 million worth of renovations in the last decade. Including the neighboring Palais Royale, a big-band dance hall built in 1922, now
an events venue for private parties, weddings and receptions, the entire complex has had more than $24 million in renovations.

The latest upgrades to the Morris, says Smith, included replacing the wooden front doors with energy-efficient doors that don’t change the appearance of the building. The project also includes upgrades to restroom facilities.

The millions of dollars in investment in the Morris Performing Arts Center is paying off for South Bend, too. Smith says an economic impact study conducted by St. Mary’s College shows a direct impact of $5.9 million a year on downtown
restaurants, hotels and parking facilities.

Morris Performing Arts Center is at:

211 N. Michigan St.
South Bend, IN 46601

For more information on upcoming entertainment, visit our website at:

For ticket information, call (574) 235-9190