Madame Walker Theatre

For current show information at the Madame Walker Theatre, visit its homepage.

Located inside the Madame C.J. Walker Building, the Madame Walker Theatre is a part of Madame Walker’s legacy and is at the forefront of the artistic and cultural community of Indiana. Celebrating art forms from the African-American perspective, the Madame Walker Theatre showcases new and emerging artists and offers educational programs, including Youth-in-Arts, which inspires music, poetry, dance, and other art forms for Indianapolis children. The facility also hosts a variety of live events in Indianapolis, and is considered one of the premier Indianapolis performing arts venues.

Located in Indiana Avenue, one of the six distinct Cultural District in Indianapolis, Indiana, the Madame Walker Theatre is the only structure of the early 20th century remaining in the 600 block. Madame C.J. Walker, America’s first female “self-made” millionaire, initiated development of the Walker Building and Theatre. Though Madam Walker’s passing made it impossible for her to complete the project, her daughter A’Lelia Walker oversaw the project until its completion and it was opened to the public in 1927.

The theatre is a tribute to Madam Walker’s entrepreneurial spirit and philanthropy. It became the core of the city’s African-American entertainment and business community throughout the 1920s and subsequent two decades. As the area experienced an economic decline during the mid 1950s, the Walker Building gradually became desolate and faced demolition by the 1970s. To save the building, citizens banned together and formed the Madame Walker Building Urban Life Center in 1979 and created a plan for restoration. Restoration of the theatre began in 1983 and full restoration was celebrated in 1988.

Doing Indy video about the Madam Walker Theatre in Indianapolis, Indiana


Today, the Madame Walker Theatre seats 935 and the careful restoration process is in evidence throughout. With an elegantly detailed African Art Deco motif, the theatre is colorfully accentuated with African masks, brass embellishments, and sphinx statuary.

Popular among performers, the venue is sought after among the many fine Indianapolis theaters, hosting a variety of musicals, concerts, film screenings, and other events each year. In addition, the Grand Casino Ballroom is 4800 square feet of sophistication and style that is often used for grand events from wedding receptions to charity balls.

Several events are regularly scheduled monthly at the Madame Walker Theatre including Jazz on the Avenue every fourth Friday from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m., Laughin’ on the Avenue from 8:00 to 10:00 the last Tuesday of the month, and Indy Swing Dances every other Sunday afternoon.

Artists interested in being showcased at the Madame Walker Theatre can submit work in any medium by providing slides or CD, bio with contact information, and dates and locations of any upcoming exhibits to the attention of the Visual Arts Programming at the Madame Walker Theatre Center.

Madame Walker Theatre Center
617 Indiana Ave
Indianapolis, IN 46202


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