NORFOLK, Va. — In Norfolk’s Ghent neighborhood, there’s a theater with family history, a balcony, and even baklava. For decades, many have enjoyed screenings at the Naro Expanded Cinema on Colley Avenue.

The theater opened in 1936 as the Colley Theater. 

“It was kind of a B-movie theater because downtown they had the grand palaces: the Norva, the Granby and the Loews theater,” Thom Vourlas said. 

The theater was taken over in the 1960s and renamed to the Naro after the then owners parents – Nathan and Rose Lavigne.

They’ve upgraded from 35-millimeter projectors to digital hard drives and digital keys that mingle with computer servers.

From past to present, Rocky to Bohemian Rhapsody, the Naro has something for everyone.

During award season, they help out if you missed one of the previous year’s blockbusters. 

“We try to show as many Oscar movies as we can and we will do that up until the Oscars at the end of February,” Vourlas said.

If when you grab a friend and your favorite snack from the concession stand but don’t know where to sit, Vourlas has a question that is also a suggestion: “I ask them how often have you sat in the balcony of a movie theater?”

Every time the curtain opens, you know that this is more than just a cinema, it’s a community.

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