Warren Theatre

270 Warren Street,
Roxbury, MA 02119

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The Warren Theatre was a handsome neighborhood cinema with a distinctive dome over its corner entrance, located a short distance south of the Dudley elevated railway terminal in the Roxbury section of Boston. It was at one time operated by M & P Theatres, a Paramount affiliate. Further information welcomed.

Contributed by Ron Salters

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on February 25, 2007 at 4:12 pm

The Warren Theatre was included in the MGM Theatre Photograph and Report project. There is an exterior photo dated May 1941. The theatre was located on the east side of Warren Street a short distance south of the Dudley elevated railway terminal. It was at an intersection of a side street; its entrance was at the corner and the left side of the building ran along the side street. The theatre was one story high, and above the corner entrance was a big half-round dome. In the photo there appears to be an elevated stage house to the rear, but that may merely be the adjoining building back there. The Report states that the Warren had been a MGM customer for over 10 years; that it’s over 15 years old and in Fair condition, and has 1,328 seats, all on one floor. It was,like many of the Roxbury movie theatres, a part of M&P Theatres. In the spring of 1968, while riding the bus between the Fields Corner and the Dudley MBTA stations, I saw the Warren Theatre. It appeared to be in good shape on the outside and perhaps only recently closed.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on September 11, 2009 at 6:53 pm

According to Google Street View, this theater is still standing and is/was being used as a church. The side-street which runs along its left side is Waverly St.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on October 14, 2009 at 7:55 pm

An old interior photo of the Warren Theatre was printed in the souvenir booklet for the 1983 Theatre Historical Society convention in Boston. The photo appears to have been made when the Warren was new and was taken from the rear of the orchestra floor looking towards the stage. It had a flat ceiling with a row of fancy small chandeliers above each side. The rectangular proscenium was dressed with drapes and curtain. On each side of the stage, above an exit door, was a fancy organ grill. On each side of each grill there is some sort of fancy wall hanging or banner. A portion of the left side wall can be seen and it appears to have a large window, but this might be a faux window with curtains and back-lighting. It was a very attractive auditorium.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on October 20, 2009 at 7:50 pm

I have seen 2 more old photos of the Warren. One was taken from the front of the house looking toward the rear. There was no balcony. There was a 3-port projection booth up on the rear wall. The side walls were decorated with cloth banners or tapestries. There appear to be faux windows along the side walls above each emergency exit door. There appear to be at least 30 rows of seats with 4 aisles. There is also an exterior view. The marquee was supported by posts on its outer corners. It says “Talking Singing Shows”. The attraction is the film version of the hit play of the late-1920s, “Abie’s Irish Rose”. There is a verticle sign about 40 or 50 feet to the right of the marquee. The entrance and marquee are on the corner of the building. There are numerous poster frames around and near the entrance.

SawdyFamily
SawdyFamily on July 16, 2012 at 7:50 am

I’ve heard a story about a dollhouse my grandfather, John Leo Sawdy, made for my mother in the early to mid 1930’s. The dollhouse was completely furnished, including working lamps. It was supposed to have been put on display in the windows of the Warren Theater and was photographed and written up in the local newspaper. If anyone comes across photos or the newspaper article, I would love a copy! :–) My mom was orphaned shortly thereafter so there’s no trace of the dollhouse in the family. My mom died at a very young age so it means a lot to her children to track down info about this very happy time in her life. Thanks so much if you can help. Her name was Frances Lillian Sawdy, born Sept. 1926, daughter of Sarah Reynolds Sawdy and John Leo Sawdy; granddaughter of James Martin Sawdy & Annie Elizabeth Kelley Sawdy, 17 Catawba St, Roxbury & MaryAnn Sullivan Reynolds and William Reynolds, also of Roxbury.Thanks so much for any help or info, Nancy (Frannie’s daughter)

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on July 16, 2012 at 6:32 pm

The dollhouse was probably put on display in the Warren’s lobby. The theater didn’t have any windows, although the building to the right did. In the lobby it would have attracted a great deal of attention.

SawdyFamily
SawdyFamily on July 16, 2012 at 8:04 pm

Thanks for writing back so quickly! And thanks for all the info on the Warren Theatre too. I’ve searched for it for a number of years and just found your info yesterday. My great-grandparents lived on Catawba St which is just a couple of blocks away from the theatre. The house they lived in is still there too. Thanks again!

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