Wells Theater

110 East Tazewell Street,
Norfolk, VA 23514

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Wells Theater

The Wells Theater was opened on August 26, 1913 by Jake and Otto Wells. The theater enjoyed early success with live stage performances. In 1916, a movie screen was installed, and by the beginning of World War II, burleseque had joined the repertoire. In the 1960’s, the Wells became an X-rated movie house.

A decade later, The Virginia Stage Company moved into the Wells Theatre in 1979 and, in 1986, completed a $3.5 million restoration, resulting in this the theater’s designation as a National Historic Landmark.

Contributed by Brett England

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

Patsy
Patsy on December 19, 2004 at 8:03 pm

That’s what we like to read “completed a $3.5 million restoration, resulting in this theater’s designation as a National Historic Landmark.” The photo shows a beautiful facade and thank goodness the x-rated movie house era ended for this theater!

ghamilton
ghamilton on April 6, 2005 at 5:17 pm

Downtown Norfolk is a pretty decent place with so many old bldgs and the big mall right across from this theater.Where else can you shop at Nordstroms,go on a real battleship,take a harbor cruise,a broadway play and then go up the street a little to a great club in another old theater in one day?

kdb2
kdb2 on November 30, 2005 at 8:37 am

I went to the Wells in 1960 or 1961 and saw King Kong. It had lots of empty seats and was apparently used at that time by the homosexual community as a pick up spot.

wurlitzer
wurlitzer on February 12, 2006 at 7:39 am

Does anyone know whatever happened to the old Kimball Theatre Pipe Organ from 1919??

Local619
Local619 on April 17, 2006 at 2:14 pm

I went to the Wells Theatre in 1959 or 1960. Saw a western double feature, Bob Hope western? It was a grand old Palace on hard times. Sat in the balcony. I was 11 or 12 years old and didn’t notice any unusual behavior, if I saw any I didn’t know to notice.

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