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does the Renaissance Community still exist?
In this week’s Boston Phoenix: Washington Street’s smallest theater reopens
To my knowledge, this corner in Somerville was never called ‘Central Square’.
Is the YMCA still using this building? If not, what is there now?
Toole Square? That’s quite funny, as it was never called this.
The MFA is opening a second auditorium as part of the Art of the Americas Wing later this month. From the press release:
“the 150-seat Barbara and Theodore Alfond Auditoriumâ€"measuring 2,128 square feetâ€"for films, concerts, and lectures, located on the ground level.”
I don’t know if all film programming is moving to Alfond, or if the museum will continue to use Remis as well.
The BRA report, published in 2002, says that the Modern’s first live performance, by the musical group Sun Ra and his Arkestra and a light show called â€œSpacescapesâ€, occurred on December 19th, 1978.
It goes on to say:
[quote]The Modern Theatre continued to host less-traditional theater and musical acts, as
well as more mainstream fare, including The Helium Mime Show, GHOST (a
blend of mime, rock music, and slapstick comedy), and the plays â€œSurvivalâ€ and
â€œAmerican Buffaloâ€, the first dramatic play ever at the Modern. There were even
plans to host bands at the Modern Theatre in an effort to compete with more
established clubs such as the Paradise.
By 1980, the theater was still struggling, but there had been 200 performances by
visiting groups and plans were underway for the first full season by the Modern
Theatre itself. Just one year later, however, Archer decided to switch his non-
profit group to a for-profit organization in an effort to attract investors to the
project. He proposed to renovate the top floors of the building into commercial or
condominium space and to build a full-service bar above the main lobby. This
proposal failed and the building was sold in the early 1980s to the Levin Family
Trust, the [then-]current owner.[/quote]
A Boston Globe article published on November 11, 1981, said that “The last time the Modern was lighted was in May  with a mime festival.”
I edited the description to more accurately describe the theatre’s last two years as a live stage, 1979-81. This Boston Redevelopment Authority report goes into more detail.
Restored Modern Theater Finally Opens Its Doors, an article in Suffolk University’s student newspaper.
“As one enters the actual theater they see a limited number of seats in front of the stage, but this is actually one of the unique designs of the Modern where there are actually five different arrangements in the theater that will change depending on the performance being held. Each time you enter the theater you will never know what arrangement you will get, but in all instances you will be face to face with the talented actors on stage.”
Today I was able to go upstairs to the balcony. There are two raked rows of 14 seats each, plus 4 movable chairs behind the back row, and nine movable chairs on each of the right and left side overhangs, for a total of 50 seats.
They told me that the flat orchestra-level floor can be converted to several rows of raked seating, but I don’t know how many rows, or how many seats in each row.
And WBUR’s coverage is here, including a nice shot of the interior and its stage curtain.
I visited the new Modern today for a Ford Hall Forum event. It looks beautiful inside, though much of the interior decoration is on wallpaper that is painted to look as if it were 3-dimensional Victorian-era detail.
There were five rows of movable chairs on a flat (unraked) floor, each row having 11 chairs. Behind this is a raked mezzanine with four rows of 14 fixed seats. The balcony was not open today, but since the total seat count is 185, this leaves 74 seats in the balcony.
Unfortunately, the projection booth is equipped only for digital, not for real 35mm or 16mm film. I am concerned that this will limit the picture quality and selection of films that they can show.
If you attend the open house tomorrow, they will give you a tour of the backstage area.
Today’s Boston Globe has a front-page article: Modern Theatre brought up-to-date
Regarding “the faux box office/ticket booth out on the sidewalk, centered underneath the marquee”
This appears to be solely decorative right now, as there are no openable windows from it to the sidewalk. The windows are frosted so you can’t see inside. It is not a separate structure but is part of the theatre building. A locked door leads from the vestibule lobby (between the inner and outer doors) to this structure.
Perhaps they’ll find a use for it eventually.
What is the ‘Rivest Site’ ?
The earlier Modern Theatre, which was open from 1914 to 1981 and was demolished in 2009, has its own CinemaTreasures page. Please use that page for any discussion of the previous Modern Theatre.
The new Modern Theatre now has a CinemaTreasures page of its own. Please use that page for any further discussion of the new theatre.
The new Modern Theatre now has its own website: ModernTheatre.com. The site contains photographs of both the old and new Modern Theatres.
The new Modern officially opens tomorrow. I have submitted it to CinemaTreasures as a separate page, and will link to it here once they put it up.
by ‘Linden theatre’ do you mean the drive-in, or another Linden that is not yet listed on this site?
This was part of the local ‘Academy Theatres’ chain, which also included the Clinton, Beechwold (later Camelot North), Esquire (later Carousel East), and other second-run neighborhood theatres.
In newspaper ads of the time, I recall the name being ‘College Cinema’ rather than ‘Theatre’.
Can you also link to the whole book and tell us what page this was on? Thanks.
Where did you find the 1955 date?
The STAR Tech Healing and Learning Center appears to be one of the principal tenants of the Peoples' Theatre Office Building. A good photo of the building, complete with intact (or re-created) marquee, is on STAR Tech’s web page.
Since the sign on top has an apostrophe after PEOPLES' , that’s the name I used here when submitting this theatre.
An advertisement for both the Peoples and Fine Arts theatres is on page 92 of this book:
Maynard: Postcard History Series by Paul Boothroyd
The caption under the ad says: “On May 6, 1921, Peoples Theatre on Nason Street was opened with a license to show moving pictures. In June 1949, the Fine Arts Theatre, a moving picture house on Summer Street, was opened. A few years later, Peoples was closed, and the Fine Arts became the only moving picture theatre in town.”
The FIne Arts advertised itself as ‘Showing Quality American, English and Foreign Films.’ The movies advertised for the “Week of December 31” are Madeleine and Rocking Horse Winner, both ‘English Made’. Madeleine came out in 1950 so I assume this is when the ad ran. Admission was 55 cents, or 25 cents for children accompanied by adults. There are ‘Daily Broadcasts from WKOX Framingham’ but this is not otherwise explained in the ad.
The name of the theatre doesn’t have an apostrophe in this ad.
The movies advertised for the “Week of December 31” are Dallas with Gary Cooper, Crisis with Cary Grant, and Devil’s Doorway with Robert Taylor. All of these movies came out in 1950 so I assume that’s when the ad ran. Admission was 44 cents, or 16 cents for children before 6:30. There are ‘Daily Broadcasts from WKOX Framingham’ but this is not otherwise explained in the ad.