Imperial Theatre

24 King Square South,
Saint John, NB E2L 5B8

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Imperial Theatre

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On September 19, 1913, the Imperial Theatre opened as a vaudeville house, and was decorated in lavish Italian Renaissance style and could seat 1,600 people in the main auditorium and balcony. It was part of the Keith-Albee circuit, and later was operated by its Canadian partner, the Saint John Amusements Company.

In 1929, the theatre was renamed the Capitol Theatre, and switched from combined vaudeville and motion pictures to full-time motion pictures. Having closed in 1957, the empty theatre was acquired by a church, which continued to meet there for the next three decades before the city of Saint John bought the theatre from the church.

A meticulous restoration project brought the theatre, again named the Imperial, back its 1913 elegance. One newspaper reporter called it the most beautiful of Canada’s restored movie palaces.

The Imperial’s grand re-opening was in 1994 and has since been a venue for the performing arts, drama and comedy acts.

The Imperial Theatre has been designated a National Historic site.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft, Barry Tonner

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

bcnett
bcnett on August 15, 2006 at 2:14 am

The console of the theatre’s organ, a Style D Wurlitzer (2 manuals, 6 ranks of pipes) is in the basement of the theatre.

SilentToronto
SilentToronto on January 21, 2008 at 3:57 am

I’m assuming the above writer meant The Imperial stopped showing Vaudeville shows entirely by 1929, as the theatre was certainly showing flickers earlier than 1929, as this Saint-John newspaper advertises Buster Keaton’s “Three Ages” for January 4, 1924.

Cinemalover
Cinemalover on June 19, 2010 at 2:38 am

I briefly saw the exterior of the building which was pretty amazing but, didn’t have a chance to peek inside and see the interior but, it looks as if it must be a pretty unique theater.

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