The building that now houses the Heirloom Arts Theatre was built around 1850. It originally opened as a vaudeville venue called the Princess Theatre and its surviving flyers and advertisements portray a colorful history. When motion pictures arrived, the Princess was transformed and its name changed to the Empress Theatre in time to host a preview of D.W. Griffith's groundbreaking film "America" in 1924. The Palace and the Empress became side-by-side movie theatres owned by Warner Bros. and were a focal point of activity in downtown Danbury.

The Empress closed around 1969 and the area where seats once occupied was leveled out and converted into office space (the modern Heirloom Arts Theatre was built on the original vaudeville stage portion of the original building).

In the late '70s and early '80s, the space became a tire warehouse and soon after fell into disuse. In 2000 it was renovated and converted into the Empress Ballroom, the only premier all ages, no alcohol venue in the area playing to mostly hardcore, metal, indie, emo, etc., shows. This incarnation of the space paved the way for what the Heirloom Arts Theatre is today.

Building further on the renovations done by the Empress Ballroom staff, the Heirloom Arts Theatre continues the spaces long tradition of music and other performing arts as well as motion pictures and visual art showcases in a professional working atmosphere. We are Danbury's artistic and cultural alternative continuing the legacy of the space, a space that is a true heirloom of the past.