May 9, 2023 - News

New Rialto Theatre owner to reopen Raleigh landmark this summer

Previous owner Bill Peebles puts up his final marquee on The Rialto last summer. Photo kindly provided by Bob Karp

Raleigh's shuttered Rialto Theatre, an 87-year-old fixture on Glenwood Avenue, will reopen its doors under new ownership sometime this summer and wade back into the world of live music, its new owner tells Axios.

Driving the news: As of Friday, SportsChannel8 lead anchor and reporter Hayes Permar, who grew up going to The Rialto, owns the theatre, which temporarily closed last summer after its previous owner retired.

  • "I don't feel like I own this," Permar said. "I'm honored to be the person representing the neighborhood as we pass the torch."

Why it matters: One of the longest-running independent movie theaters in the Triangle, The Rialto is a beloved Raleigh landmark, and its closure last year — temporary or not — was a loss for the city.

The Rialto’s marquee reads "Thank you Bill"
The Rialto’s first marquee under new ownership is a hat-tip to former owner Bill Peebles. Photo courtesy of Hayes Permar

Details: Film will continue to be central to the Rialto, Permar said, but he's "determined to bring live music back," recounting the days when it operated as a music venue in the 1980s and '90s. He also plans to invite "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" and hopes to experiment with other events, too.

What they're saying: "I don't want to be boxed in," Permar told Axios Monday night. "We're not a comedy club, we're not a music hall and we're not just a movie place: We're all of it."

He means it: While Permar was on the phone with Axios late Monday night, the director of the North Carolina Symphony swung by the theatre and introduced himself.

  • Permar invited him to come do a show.

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