L'Enfant Theatre

429 L'Enfant Plaza SW,
Washington, DC 20024

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L'Enfant Theatre auditorium

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The L'Enfant Theatre opened November 14, 1968 (Benjamin Schlanger was the supervising architect) and closed in December 1969. It was leased by the American Film Institute from September 1970 for a short while. It then became a live theatre, known as the American Theatre which opened in May 1973. That closed in 1974 and it became a home for African-American play, a venture which also failed. It then reverted back to movies, screening Chinese and Japanese films and operated until 1988.

It is now the NTSB Conference Center.

Contributed by jack coursey

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

sconnell1 on March 14, 2009 at 8:43 pm

The theater opened on 11/14/68. The following films were shown there in its brief run.

11/14/68 The Shoes Of The Fisherman
04/02/69 Ben-Hur
06/04/69 South Pacific
06/26/69 Krakatoa, East Of Java
08/13/69 The Gay Deceivers
10/01/69 De Sade
11/26/69 All Neat In Black Stockings
12/05/69 Charly)/For Love Of Ivy

The L'efant was closed on 12/14/69 due to lack of business. The AFI took it over in 1970.

AlanHerman on February 20, 2010 at 6:52 pm

In the late 70’s it became part of the KB (or K-B) cinema chain. I had worked there as a sweep union projectionist (one that would fill in for projectionists on leave, sick or fired, etc.). This was a small theater.

CharlieCoates on June 26, 2011 at 5:24 pm

The photo does not show the theatre. It was located on a street that passes under the Promenade(shown in the photo) and was next to a parking garage. That is largely responsible for the lack of attendance. No one could find it.

It was actually a nice theatre. I was a very frequent patron in 1971-72 when it was run by the American Film Institute. Shows would change daily and there were frequent series involving genres or stars. If the series focused on a particular star, that star would,more often than not, appear and participate in a discussion prior to the showing of the first film on the series.

One such series featured Ingrid Bergman and began with “Casablanca.” Ingrid Bergman appeared and discussed the film and her work/ Not unexpectedly, she was very gracious and witty. Quite a thrill.

lesbrown0 on April 30, 2012 at 7:29 pm

I attended an opening stage act presented by Roberta Flack for singing artist Wayne Davis there in 1972. I never knew it was a movie theater.

rivest266 on June 28, 2015 at 9:10 am

November 14th, 1968 grand opening ad in photo section

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