Royal Theatre

1524 South Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19146

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Royal Theatre

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The Royal Theatre opened in 1920 seating 1,200. It was located on South Street between 15th and 16th Streets. The architect for the theatre was Frank E. Hahn whose Neo-Georgian style exterior contrasted with the 1925 Art Deco interior designed by William H. Lee. When it opened it was touted as “America’s Finest Colored Photoplay House”. The staff of the Royal Theatre went on to become the nucleus of the Negro Motion Picture Operators Union. The theatre closed in 1970.

Contributed by Chuck

Recent comments (view all 21 comments)

Ross Care
Ross Care on February 27, 2010 at 4:06 pm

Found my program. “Seven Descents” played at the Walnut Theatre. The play was later revised as “Kingdom of Earth”.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on April 24, 2010 at 10:25 pm

The Royal was one of a list of segregated Philadelphia theaters in the 1947 IMPA, along with the Booker, Dixie, Colonial, Douglas, Globe, Joy, New Garden, New Jewel, Pearl, Rex, Ruby, Standard, Strand and Upsal.

RickB
RickB on July 22, 2011 at 11:06 am

This article includes a picture of the theater and a mention that the current plan for the theater is apparently conversion to residential use, although it doesn’t go into detail about what form that residential space might take (the theater is not the sole focus of the piece).

RickB
RickB on October 19, 2011 at 12:45 pm

Another news story about how there’s nothing new with the Royal and the neighbors are starting to get ticked off.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on July 9, 2012 at 2:42 pm

Below is from today (July 9, 2012) Philadelphia Inquirer article on South Street:

The other major sore spot is the abandoned Royal Theater owned by Kenny Gamble’s Universal Companies.

“In another couple of years, the building will fall over,” said Feibush of OCF Realty. “It’s in terrible shape. It can be fixed. A dozen developers would love to turn it into something beautiful.” So far, Gamble’s group has only proposed leaving the facade up and building houses behind it, Feibush said, and the community rejected that plan.

Universal Companies did not return several calls for comment.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on May 31, 2013 at 1:15 pm

Owner proposing demolition of auditorium: http://planphilly.com/articles/2013/05/30/universal-seeks-ok-to-demolish-most-of-royal-theater

RickB
RickB on July 8, 2013 at 12:50 pm

As they say over at fark.com, “This is not a repeat from 2011”: Yet another news story about how there‚Äôs nothing new with the Royal and the neighbors are continuing to be ticked off.

RickB
RickB on November 12, 2014 at 1:06 am

Bill introduced in City Council for a zoning change that would facilitate the facadectomy. Story at PlanPhilly.

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