54 Suffolk Street,
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The enormous Victory Theatre opened in 1920 and was one of eight theaters that thrived during the days of vaudeville and silent motion pictures. The Victory Theatre, like many other combination houses, switched to an all-movies format in 1931. It suffered damage by a fire in 1942, but re-opened after renovations and it remained a vibrant movie house until it closed in 1979.
In 1983, Helen Casey, organized the Save The Victory Theatre Inc., a non-profit organization, which was created to help reopen the theater. Despite some great successes at fundraising along the way, little has been done to help rescue the old movie house reopen.
Like Holyoke itself, the Victory Theatre is still struggling to stay alive. The old theater’s blade sign was removed in 1986 and the marquee was torn down in 1991. Although it has allowed passersby to better see its scultped facade, it is a sad reminder that the Victory Theatre has yet to emerge from its doldrums.
In September 2008, ownership of the Victory Theatre was handed over by the city to the Massachusetts International Festival of the Arts, who plan to renovate it as a performing arts center and reopen by the end of 2012. The MIFA has already raised half of the money required for its $27,000,000 renovation.
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