C. Walsh Theatre

55 Temple Street,
Boston, MA 02114

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C. Walsh Theatre

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The C. Walsh Theatre is located on the Temple Street side of Suffolk University’s Archer Building (built in 1920) at Derne and Temple streets, directly behind the Massachusetts state capitol building.

It opened on or after April, 1921 as the Suffolk Theatre, the only neighborhood cinema atop Beacon Hill in downtown Boston. It was also just a short uphill walk from the Scollay Square/Bowdoin Square/ Cambridge Street areas.

It operated as a school theater and as a rental house for various Off-Broadway -type theatrical groups. It was closed in May 2016.

Contributed by Ron Salters

Recent comments (view all 16 comments)

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on August 21, 2008 at 7:22 am

The Ford Hall Forum lecture series is now affiliated with Suffolk University. Many of this fall’s lectures will take place in the C. Walsh Theatre.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on October 7, 2010 at 9:02 am

According to an article in today’s Herald, Suffolk University is considering selling its Beacon Hill buildings, including the one that contains this theatre. Would a new owner keep this theatre intact and open?

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on October 7, 2010 at 9:28 am

Here is Suffolk University’s official web page for the C. Walsh Theatre, with an extensive history of various performers and speakers who have appeared there.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on October 7, 2010 at 10:30 am

I, too, wonder what the future of this theater is, if the property is sold.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on October 7, 2010 at 12:38 pm

Does this really have 1100 seats? That is much much bigger than what I remember.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on October 8, 2010 at 5:38 am

http://www.suffolk.edu/college/22887.html says that the C. Walsh theatre has 399 seats.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on October 8, 2010 at 10:52 am

The figure of 1,100 seats came from the Donald King Boston theaters book. It probably did have more than 399 seats prior to the renovation project a couple years ago, but maybe not as many as 1,100. Suffolk University’s new Modern Theatre on Washington Street will supposedly have about 185 seats which makes it even smaller than the C. Walsh Th.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on April 4, 2016 at 12:29 pm

Looks like the C. Walsh theatre will be gone soon. Suffolk University is selling the building (and those surrounding it) to a developer who will convert it to residential use.

http://www.universalhub.com/2016/two-former-suffolk-university-buildings-beacon

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on April 30, 2017 at 5:06 pm

This theater’s status should be changed to Closed.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on April 30, 2017 at 7:07 pm

for when this link breaks:

Suffolk University’s C. Walsh Theatre – a short history The C. Walsh Theatre closed in May 2016. Located at 55 Temple Street on Beacon Hill, the theatre was Suffolk University’s primary performance and presentation venue. Suffolk University founder Gleason Archer built the theatre in the early 1920s to accommodate large gatherings of Suffolk Law School students. Revenues from its daytime use as a movie theatre financed Law School operations. The building’s marquee boasted of having the “largest pipe organ in New England.” In its most recent renovation in 2006-2007, the theatre’s color and design elements reflected the warm intimacy of the original venue, location in the Beacon Hill neighborhood, and the youthful energy of the University and its students. Many esteemed guests appeared at the C. Walsh Theatre during its 90+ year history, including: Nobel Prize winners Shirin Ebadi (Peace) and Derek Walcott (Poetry) Congressional candidate John F. Kennedy Supreme Court Chief Justices William O. Douglas and Clarence Thomas Scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Director of Harvard’s W.E.B. Du Bois Institute Robert Brustein, scholar, playwright, and founder of the American Repertory Theatre at Harvard Human rights activists Coretta Scott King and Samantha Power National Book Critic’s Circle Award winner Maxine Hong-Kingston Pulitzer Prize winning composer John Harbison, pianists Russell Sherman and Robert Levin, and opera director Sarah Caldwell Academy Award winning actor Jane Wyman and nominees Greer Garson and Felicity Huffman; novelist and Academy Award-nominated screenwriter John Irving; actors Ed Begley, Jr., Christopher McCann, Jennifer Westfeldt, and Paul Guilfoyle; and filmmakers Frederick Wiseman and Tamara Jenkins Tony Award winning composers William Finn and Jeanine Tesori The C. Walsh Theatre has hosted visiting professional performing artists and arts organizations, including: Hagoromo – “The Feather Robe” – presented by the Kanze School of Noh Theatre, Japan Classical ensemble Emmanuel Music presenting the work of Franz Schubert Me Am I – presented by the Milwaukee Dance Theatre Requiem for Srebrenica, a production of the French director Olivier Py and Centre Dramatique National Moll presented by OPENINGS Theatre Company of Dublin Collage New Music’s presentation of cutting-edge modern classical music United States premiere presentation of the Daita International Nagauta Music Ensemble of Tokyo The American Repertory Theatre’s Obie-award winning production of The Cryptogram

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