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Peabody Opera House renamed Stifel Theatre

The lobby of the Stifel Theatre, shown in June 2011.
File photo | Provided | Tom Paule Photography
The arts venue St. Louisians know as the Peabody Opera House, shown here in June 2011 during an extensive rehabilitation, has a new name: Stifel Theater.

The Peabody Opera House has a new name.

For the next decade, the downtown St. Louis venue will be called Stifel Theatre.

Stifel Financial Corp. signed a 10-year agreement for naming rights at the 3,100-seat venue, which opened in 1934 as the Kiel Opera House.

The theater is owned by the partnership that owns the St. Louis Blues and its venue, the Enterprise Center, next door. Stifel’s downtown location is important, said Chris Zimmerman, president and CEO of the theater and the Blues.

“First and foremost, you’ve got a downtown company that’s highly committed to work to support the downtown and to drive energy and drive growth,” Zimmerman said. “And the sponsorship side of the business is what helps keep these facilities vibrant.”

In 2011, SCP Worldwide spent more than $78 million to renovate and reopen the theater, which had been shuttered for two decades. That deal granted naming rights to St. Louis-based Peabody Energy.

Originally named after Henry Kiel, mayor of St. Louis from 1913 to 1925, the theater closed in 1991. Since its renovation, it has hosted more than 500 events in the main theater and seen attendance of more than 1 million people.

Zimmerman said the venue’s success over the past seven years helps boost confidence in downtown revitalization, compared to when the theater reopened.

“I think the difference is now we have great confidence in what a special venue this is, and how appropriate and how right bringing it back was.”

Follow Jeremy on Twitter:@JeremyDGoodwin

Jeremy is the arts & culture reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.