Leader of Prominent Theater Retires

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The venue opened in 1922, and was sold to the city for $1 by local philanthropist Ella Morris, who bought the property and saved it from demolition in 1959. The venue opened in 1922, and was sold to the city for $1 by local philanthropist Ella Morris, who bought the property and saved it from demolition in 1959.

The longtime executive director of the historic Morris Performing Arts Center is retiring. Dennis Andres, who has run the city-owned, 1920s-era venue since 2000, oversaw several significant milestones during his tenure, including a nearly $7 million renovation of the Palais Royale ballroom in 2012.

Andres is heading south, moving to North Carolina. "It's been an honor to serve the city and patrons over the past 16 years," he said in a statement released by the city. "I thank my staff, volunteers, vendors, union stage hands, patrons, community leaders, show promoters and tour managers for all having a part in making the historic Morris Performing Arts Center a successful gem in downtown South Bend with the 'Hottest Tickets in Town!'"

A June 2013 study from the Saint Mary's College Department of Business Administration and Economics pegged the impact of the theater and ballroom at $10.5 million a year.

Beginning next year, oversight of the theater will be folded into the duties of Parks & Recreation Executive Director Aaron Perri.

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