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 the Farm Bureau Live at Virginia Beach amphitheater.
The original NorVa Theatre opened in 1917 as a 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 known by its patrons to be charming and aesthetically pleasing due to its rustic and old-style appearance. The NorVa features top-notch acoustics, 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 mini bar when the weather warrants it. The Rock Shop is a trendy 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.