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Was in here a few weeks ago. Very nice partial restoration of a beautiful, though oddly laid out, theater. I’m uploading some iPhone photos right now. The current management are extremely nice and very proud of what they have which is obviously very nice to see. I talked to one of the managers for a while about the history of the theater: not sure if already listed above, but she informed me that it is the oldest theater standing in Madison and plan for it to exist for years to come
Uploaded some iPhone photos of the main auditorium in its current state. Very interesting complex.
AnonymousSeptember 6, 2014 at 1:08 AM
Hey it’s me the janitor Tim again. In answer to the upstairs room question (5). The upstairs room was originally not so much a separate room but more of an ornate extention of the lobby with wonderful high ceilings with awesome art deco plaster work.The bathrooms up there were there but not that bar. There was a fountain behind where the bar is. That was altered to the basic current form in I believe the early 1990s when the nightclub thing started.If anyone wants to help me fix it up we have a restoration fund link on our page www.thepalladium.net Thanks guys
Thanks to Tim for the insider information.
*venue, not video. whoops
I was recently in the Palladium (August 2015) because the band I tour with had a show in the “Upstairs” room, in which I had hours (and little lighting) to explore the entirety of the theater.
Although it is a functioning music video, it truly feels like you are stepping inside the shell of a long-abandoned building. I would guess that maybe 30% of the original interior architecture of the theater is still intact. Maybe. Most of the auditorium was gutted of all of its beauty at some point in time. Most resemblance to a movie palace is long gone. The only things remaining are the chandelier, a majority of the proscenium arch, very little of the original art deco ceiling. Outside of the auditorium, there are hardly any remnants so I’m not entirely sure how restoring this theater or getting landmark status is even possible just because it was so completely destroyed in previous years. Such a shame.
Here are some of the low resolution iPhone photos I was able to take along with a more detailed description (in the album) of what remains and what does not.
Also, here’s a great video from last year (uploaded Oct. 2015) about the theater. It showcases all of the original features of the building from the original painted fire curtain to storage spaces behind bathrooms: https://youtu.be/nWYuEZ8LhgA
Ignore what I said in my last comment about the lobby being gutted. at around the 3:00 minute mark in the video above, the host shows that the original lobby is still intact above a drop ceiling. Simply amazing.
Unfortunately, “phase two” of the current owner’s renovation process seems to include “modify[ing] front of stage, flatten floor and purchase 150 removable chairs,” along with “install[ing] 400 new balcony seats,” rather than working with the original seating arrangement or refurbishing the current seats. You win some, you lose some.
Hey there, I attended the Cabot in October 2015 and managed to take as many photos as I could: https://flic.kr/s/aHskv6NNMY
(This is what I wrote about its condition on my Flickr description:
Excuse the horrible quality photographs; this was kind of a spur of the moment event and I could only “shoot” with my iPhone, which was running on low battery.)
I went to the Cabot for the first time for a low-attended screening of Night of the Living Dead around Halloween in 2015. I had never been inside the theater and due to an insignificant amount of information available, I had no idea that it was still very much a gorgeous, extremely well-maintained palace kept close to its original condition and appearance. Structurally, it clearly has some issues from years and years of withstanding New England, but I was still blown away by the attention to detail retained and generally good upkeep. I wish I could have gotten into the balcony for a better view, or even just got better photos, but it was very dimly lit and this was the best my iPhone could do.
As a fanatic of old movie palaces, I hope and pray that the new owners of the Cabot strive to keep the auditorium in line with its original appearance (the lobby has already been gutted and modernized and the old empty storefronts also appear to be undergoing the same treatment). I hope to return and continue to support the Cabot as long as it continues to be a true representation of what it once was.
Stumbled across some great quality photos (circa 1984) of the theater (along with various other Boston theaters) on flickr here: View link
I was lucky enough to go inside of the building and take some photos.