Norva Theatre

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The NorVa
Norva Theatre 1.jpg
Location Norfolk, Virginia
Coordinates 36°51′0.7″N 76°17′22″W / 36.850194°N 76.28944°W / 36.850194; -76.28944Coordinates: 36°51′0.7″N 76°17′22″W / 36.850194°N 76.28944°W / 36.850194; -76.28944
Owner Anschutz Entertainment Group
Type Music venue
Capacity 1450
Opened 1917 (original) 2000 (reopened)
Renovated 1998

The NorVa is a performing theatre located in Norfolk, Virginia. The NorVa's name consists of an abbreviation relating to its location.

The NorVa was the brainchild of local music venue entrepreneurs Bill Reid and Rick Mersel, who have also developed the NTelos Wireless Pavilion and have ties to the development of Farm Bureau Live at Virginia Beach.[1] In 2014, the NorVa was acquired by Anschutz Entertainment Group.[2]

The original NorVa Theatre opened in 1917 as a 2000-seat Vaudeville theater then thrived as a premier movie theatre into the 1970s. The building served as home to the Downtown Athletic Club from 1980 until 1998 when it was renovated for its current use. The building is often noted by its patrons to be charming and aesthetically pleasing due to its rustic and old-style appearance. The NorVa features top-notch acoustics,[1] acoustics provided by a state-of-the-art V-DOSC sound system and engineered acoustical padding throughout the walls. The NorVa's stage area also features extensive utilities and lighting for special effects. Many bands have regarded the NorVa as one of the best venues in the United States, due not only to its great sound and intimate setting, but also to its many backstage amenities.


The NorVa consists of a main dance floor and a wraparound balcony. There is special seating and a secluded lounge for those with a house VIP membership. While the dance floor is usually standing room only, there are tables on the second floor. Both floors have sizable bars with the option for an additional mini bar added on the dance floor. The venue offers a designated area for handicapped patrons. Smoking inside is not allowed in Virginia but there is a huge smoking courtyard accessible from inside the venue that also has a Tiki bar open when the weather warrants it. The Rock Shop is an isolated bar area near the front doors where patrons can step away from the concert without leaving the building. The venue is fairly open with a good view up to the five-foot-high stage, something normally reserved for much larger venues. There are also several TVs in the bar areas broadcasting a view of the stage.

Backstage Perks

The NorVa has earned a reputation for taking good care of its artists. The venue's backstage experience consists of In-house Catering, Dining Room lined with autographed drum heads and other memorabilia, Laundry Facilities, Recreation Room, Pool Table, Foosball, Ping Pong, Production Office, Multiple Dressing Rooms, Big Screen TVs, Leather Couches, Jacuzzi, Sauna, Indoor Basketball Court, and Massage Therapist available upon request.


The NorVa faces MacArthur Center's north parking garage. Limited street parking is also available. Hampton Roads Transit's The Tide light rail's Monticello station is located less than a block away.

Early Entry Program:

The venue is supported by The FM Restaurant located at 320 Granby Street. NorVa patrons can enter through the restaurant 15 minutes prior to the front doors.

Concert Venue History:


  • Everything and The Dirty Dozen Brass Band was originally scheduled to open the venue
  • April 17 - James Brown performed the inaugural show.


  • April 28 - Prince sold out the venue in less than five minutes.


  • The NorVa hosted the after party for the Larry Holmes-Butterbean fight, promoted by Daryl DeCroix and Frank Azzalina. It was Larry Holmes' last professional fight.


  • The hard rock band Chevelle released a DVD entitled "Live from the NorVA."
  • March 24 - Queens of the Stoneage with Turbonegro
  • April 18 - Flaming Lips
  • August 13 - Snoop Dogg
  • October 14 - Justin Timberlake


  • April 6 - Bob Dylan
  • September 27 - Wilco


  • March 19 - Willie Nelson
  • The NorVa was named one of the top five rock venues by Rolling Stone Magazine.


  • April 27 - Phoenix


  • The NorVa ranks #16 in Rolling Stone's Best Big Rooms in America list.[3]
  • NorVa picked best venue by Rolling Stone readers[4]
  • The NorVa was the recipient of the Best Major Music Venue award in the 2013 VEER Music Awards.


  • September 24 - The NorVa was purchased in a $5.9 million deal by AEG Live. The National Theatre, The NorVa's sister venue, was also purchased in October.


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