The Rialto Square Theatre Gets Over $1.4 Million In The Shuttered Venue Operator’s Grant To Cover Lost Revenue Due To COVID

VenuWorks and the WCMEAA Board of Directors are pleased to announce that the Jewel of Joliet, the Rialto Square Theatre, has been awarded a Shuttered Venue Operator’s Grant (SVOG) in the amount of $1,426,183. The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program was established to assist eligible organizations; local, regional, and national venues, promoters and producers in the effort to reopen after an unprecedented closure due to the pandemic. SVOG is administered by the SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance, which includes over $16 billion in grants to shuttered venues.

“The WCMEAA Board would like to thank the City of Joliet for their continued financial support of the Rialto Square Theatre’s operating budget in addition to S.T.A.R. Memberships and patrons. Their support positions us to utilize available funds to address long overdue theatre repair and maintenance as well as one-time capital improvement projects,” said Robert Filotto, WCMEAA Board President. SVOG funds will be allocated to payroll, utility, insurance, repairs and maintenance, and other operating costs incurred during the pandemic while virtually no event revenues materialized.
The Rialto Square Theatre is also facing several long overdue major capital improvement projects which include:

Project Estimated Cost
• Remodel and expansion of main floor restrooms $550,000
• New A/C unit for the Rotunda/Esplanade/Theatre $900,000
• Removal and replacement of roof $30,000
• Infra-Red testing repairs $30,000
• Replacement of theatre seating $725,000
“As the first to close and among the last to reopen, this has been a time of extreme struggle in our industry,” said Valerie Devine, Executive Director of the VenuWorks-managed Rialto Square Theatre. “We have a unique opportunity to tackle some projects that have been neglected over the years due to financial constraints. These projects will, without a doubt, provide a better entertainment experience for our patrons.”

Ongoing fundraising efforts, workforce reductions, VenuWorks-secured PPP loans, and financial support from the City of Joliet over the past 18 months have made it possible for the Rialto Square Theatre to operate in a reduced capacity while preparing for the industry’s return to live entertainment.

Since its reopening, ticket sales for shows at the Rialto Square Theatre have been strong. The fall schedule includes entertainment such as Terry Fator, Napoleon Dynamite, Melissa Etheridge, Peppa Pig, Hairball, Friends! The Musical Parody, and many, many more. Additionally, the theatre recently announced its annual Home for the Holiday season providing a season full of diverse holiday entertainment. For show details and to purchase tickets visit