The World Theatre is a nonprofit, volunteer-run theatre. Our mission is to bring you a better alternative to commercial Hollywood fare by celebrating the motion picture as art and to present unique live stage events that are as eclectic and varied as our venue’s vaudeville past. No matter the event, our purpose is to use art as a means to educate, inspire, incite, unite, outrage and entertain. 

The World marks a revival in the lost art of showmanship. That means you get all the modern bells and whistles of a state-of-the-art theatre along with the style of a legendary movie palace. The experience is one of a kind, there’s no calculated extortion between the ticket booth and your seat, and we feature movies for all audiences. Simply put, movies are fun again. Check us out. With all tickets at only $5, you’ll discover we offer the best value for your entertainment dollar than any place in the area.

Our History

Once a vaudeville theatre, The World Theatre is housed inside the historic Masonic Temple building. Built in 1927, the structure still houses the Rob Morris chapter of the Masons as well as Job’s Daughters, DeMolay and various other community groups. After being closed for several years, the theatre reopened in June 2012 after three years of renovation work and a communitywide fundraising campaign launched by Kearney native and Hollywood screenwriter Jon Bokenkamp. Few pictures of the original building remain, but The World Theatre Foundation drew up its renovation plans using the original blueprints from 1926. Almost every element of the theatre, from floor tiles to plaster, was restored to the historic feel of a 1920s vaudeville theatre.

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Why The World?

Why in the world would you come to The World Theatre? We can think of a few reasons:


Flip-up arm rests are flippin’ neat

Our seats are specially designed for your whole reach-up-while-yawning-and-stealthily-lower-your-arm-around-your-date maneuver. Although we can’t guarantee success, we can promise that you’ll have the chance to give them a proper go. We wish you the best of luck.

Extended leg room – Comfortable seating isn’t a stretch

You’re a tall drink of water, and you need ample room for those stunning legs. We get it. We’re not trying to cramp your style. That’s why our rows and rows of seating feature extended leg room. People of average stature or taller, you may stand and rejoice. Now please be seated.

Curtains – Swag so thick it hangs from our walls

That spectacular big red thing that covers up the screen? Yep, we have that. We’re all about staying true to tradition, especially when tradition looks this good. Atmosphere, feng shui, ambiance, whatever you want to call it, we’ve got it, and it’s magnificent.

Digital presentation – Because film reels and analog sounds are sooo last millennium

Our theatre features digital picture and sound because frankly, my dear, it looks and sounds so much better, and we give a damn. And for all of you vinyl-listening, revivalist hipsters (whom we love very much), it’s environmentally friendly, too.

Famous World Theatre popcorn recipe – Glisten up, we’re all hot and buttered about this

That’s right, we’re back to tradition again. And this time, it’s so good you can taste it. We’re blowing the dust off the original popcorn recipe from The World Theatre of yesteryear. Do the folks behind our counter know how to get it poppin’? You butter believe it.

Get with the programming

The World Theatre is focused on one thing: your entertainment. We’ll be showing you things other dime-a-dozen theatres won’t. Indies, documentaries, classics and the like — they won’t all be blockbusters, but none of them will be lackluster. We’ll also host events, interactive activities and other frequently awesome happenings.

Balcony – The air is smugger up here

We have a balcony and it’s just straight-up nifty. Articles of clothing that come with a musty aroma of self-importance aren’t required (stylish canes, top hats, ascots), but that swanky feeling of standing on a balcony will come standard, so prepare as you see fit.

Nonprofit, volunteer-run – Our quarters aren’t for nickel and diming

Wait, there are people who actually care this much? Yes. We love movies and we think our community needs this. Our spotlight rests on giving you a great experience. We’re not trying to make a quick buck off you, we promise, but we could always use a little extra help!