Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center

14 Castle Street,
Great Barrington, MA 01230

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mahaiwe in 2010

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The Mahaiwe Theater’s large, faded marquee only tells part of the story of this aging, but elegant movie house.

Opened in September 1905 as a vaudeville theater, the Mahaiwe Theater became a movie house in the late-1920’s and never looked back. Visitors to the town could easily miss the Mahaiwe Theater as it’s nestled down a side street, but locals made the theater a hit as it was the home of first run feature films for the next seven decades.

Finally after years of marginal profits its last operator, the Hoyts Theater chain, sold the 700-seat cinema to the Berkshire Opera Company. Although the Mahaiwe Theater has finally shown its last first run film, it still screens classic movies. Its new owners have restored the theater which help show off its gilded lobby and refined interior.

The Mahaiwe Theater was restored in time for its 100th anniversary — a mark as impressive as the theater itself.

Contributed by Ross Melnick

Recent comments (view all 16 comments)

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on November 12, 2006 at 8:05 am

The MGM Theatre Photograph and Report form for the Mahaiwe Theatre on Castle St. in Great Barrington has a facade photo taken in May 1941. There is a fancy boxy marquee with the name in huge letters on its front. There are 3 lines on its sides for the attraction. Movie playing is Joan Crawford and Melvyn Douglas in “A Woman’s Face”. Above the marquee is a large arch. The Report states that the theatre has been a MGM customer for over 10 years; that it’s in Fair condition; and has 461 orchestra seats and 400 balcony seats, total: 861 seats. The Report also states that there were no competing theatres in town.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on November 12, 2006 at 8:10 am

The marquee pictured in the 1941 MGM Report photo appears to be the same one in the recent photos posted by Lost Memory on Oct 19 2006.

sumwherefrumnow
sumwherefrumnow on August 11, 2007 at 5:51 pm

Check the facts…… In 2007 the Mahaiwe is not only the finest small/medium size venue for live entertainment, it is also the FINEST reel to reel 35mm film venue. It is capable of providing 2,000 or 6,000 reel to reel projection in film formats of 1.37:1, 1.66:1, 1.85:1 or 2.35:1 for image. It can also supply any analog format for sound plus any Dolby Digital format including Dolby Digital EX. Installed are authentic Dolby proccesors. Century projector heads and sound heads. Christie console/lamphouses, 3 phase motors that are capable of 16-30 fps. The Mahaiwe has a 30'6" anamorphic screen with 16.5 foot candles of illumination minimum at any screen location.
A film at the Mahaiwe is an experience, it’s not just a movie!

sumwherefrumnow
sumwherefrumnow on August 11, 2007 at 5:59 pm

Check the facts…… In 2007 the Mahaiwe is not only the finest small/medium size venue for live entertainment, it is also the FINEST reel to reel 35mm film venue. It is capable of providing 2,000 or 6,000 reel to reel projection in film formats of 1.37:1, 1.66:1, 1.85:1 or 2.35:1 for image. It can also supply any analog format for sound plus any Dolby Digital format including Dolby Digital EX. Installed are authentic Dolby proccesors. Century projector heads and sound heads. Christie console/lamphouses, 3 phase motors that are capable of 16-30 fps. The Mahaiwe has a 30'6" anamorphic screen with 16.5 foot candles of illumination minimum at any screen location.
A film at the Mahaiwe is an experience, it’s not just a movie!

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on November 14, 2010 at 10:55 am

The Mahaiwe is listed in the 1927 Film Daily Yearbook as having 940 seats and open 6 days per week. It’s the only movie theater listed for Great Barrington.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on November 14, 2010 at 11:03 am

Since current programming at the Mahaiwe does in fact include movies, the Description and Funciton need to be revised appropriately.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on November 14, 2010 at 11:16 am

Also, the Berkshire Opera Company went out of business last year. The Mahaiwe does present HD screenings of the Metropolitan Opera from NYC.

LouRugani
LouRugani on April 4, 2012 at 5:21 pm

I believe this theatre (or at least its exterior) is featured in the 1968 20th Century-Fox film “Pretty Poison” with Anthony Perkins and Tuesday Weld, screening “The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre”.

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