The Plaza Theatre was built in 1939 and is Atlanta longest continuously-operating independent theater. In 2006, Jonathan and Gayle Rej bought the theatre. They have focused on event-centered films with live audience-interactive elements, including Splatter Cinema, the Silver Scream Spookshow, Flicks & Giggles, Summer Camp, and Art Opening and a Movie. In 2009, the Plaza Theatre received non-profit status. Atlanta’s oldest cinema, The Plaza is a strong supporter of independent, classic and cult cinema, and serves the community with a diverse slate of programming year-round.
The theatre currently has two screens. The large downstairs auditorium, with beautiful gold velvet curtains, Heywood Wakefield rockers, and original light sconces, seats 375. It features a stage, spotlight, and backstage dressing area. The upstairs theatre (formerly the balcony) is more intimate with fixed seating and blue linen curtains. It seats 175.
The enormous lobby enters under the restored marquee. It features a wall of classic film posters, restored ticket booth and concession stand, original crystal chandeliers and wall sconces, ever-changing art gallery, and classic video games. The Plaza Theatre is available for event rentals. It features state-of-the-art film projection and sound, including a top-of-the-line digital projector.
Designed by architect George Harwell Bond, this theatre opened its doors in 1939 as a 1000 seat art deco cinema and live theatre. In the 1970s, the cinema operated as an X-rated adult cinema and live burlesque theatre until the entire shopping center was renovated by current owner Robert Griffith. In 1983, the theatre was purchased by George Lefont who was the first to bring independent cinema to Atlanta. The theatre underwent renovations again when purchased by longtime Atlanta residents Jonathan & Gayle Rej in August of 2006. The Plaza Theatre is the last cinema of its kind in Atlanta, as well as the oldest continously operating cinema in the city. Now with 501c3 non profit status, The Plaza Theatre Foundation hopes to save this theatre, continue to promote independent film, and support the local film community.
Since the Spring of 2012, the Atlanta Film Festival has assisted the Plaza with marketing and development and works with Plaza's management to help secure the stability and sustainability of Atlanta's most iconic and vital landmarks.