Keswick Theater

291 N. Keswick Avenue,
Glenside, PA 19038

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July 11, 2009

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The Keswick Theater is in Glenside, a Montgomery County suburb of Philadelphia. The theater was designed in a Tudor Revival style by Philadelphia architect Horace Trumbauer, who also designed the Philadelphia Art Museum. A private opening on Christmas 1928 was held for the Kiwanis Follies. The Keswick opened to the public on December 27, 1928, with vaudeville and the movie “Glorious Betsy” but without sound, as the theater was wired for sound, but the equipment was not yet ready.

The 1,366-seat Keswick played host to everyone from Paul Robeson to the best big-budget films of the day. In 1955, the theater was remodelled to host Cinemascope films.

In the Spring 1980 the theater closed, and demolition loomed. Community activists organized a nonprofit organization to save the theater, and operated the theater with live shows from 1981 to December 1985, when it closed again.

The Keswick reopened in March 1988 under private ownership, with its current incarnation, as a place to see a wildly diverse array of talent. The acoustically luscious theater was fully refurbished in 1994.

The original theater pipe organ was an Aeolian Organ. The current organ is a 1,700 pipe Moller Theatre Organ, originally installed in 1928 in the Sedgwick Theatre in Philadelphia.

The Keswick was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. Philadelphia Magazine chose the Keswick as ‘Concert Venue of the Year’ for its ‘Best of Philly’ issue. In 2004, an Arcadia paperback book on the Keswick Theater was published, written by Judith Katherine Herbst.

Contributed by George Q, Ken Duckworth, Howard B. Haas

Recent comments (view all 18 comments)

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on February 10, 2010 at 2:56 pm

2 June 1956 Box Office magazine (can find online) p 99 has a photo of Keswick auditorium redone after fire

ERD
ERD on July 11, 2010 at 5:54 pm

I am glad that this beautiful theatre was able to be saved and is supported so its future looks good.

gd14lawn
gd14lawn on August 7, 2012 at 9:10 pm

From the Montgomery News:

After opening its doors in 1928, the Keswick Theatre has become a favorite historical landmark in Glenside. To help make sure the theater is part of the community for years to come, it is undergoing renovations, which began June 25.

More at: http://www.montgomerynews.com/articles/2012/07/30/glenside_news_globe_times_chronicle/news/doc501690d431cda398420019.txt?viewmode=default

Cinerama
Cinerama on February 23, 2017 at 3:32 pm

Hey veyoung52, it was called the Warren theatre in 1960 when Windjammer played there in Atlantic City. It was supposed to start July 29, 1960. In the same month I also see articles about it being demolished in the fall 1960.

raymondgordonsears
raymondgordonsears on February 23, 2017 at 5:03 pm

Don’t forget when Cinarama left Philly it later came to the Keswick. The 35mm projectors were taken out and the 3 system cinarama was installed.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on February 23, 2017 at 5:05 pm

NO, the Boyd was the only 3 projector true Cinerama venue in the Phila area.

raymondgordonsears
raymondgordonsears on February 23, 2017 at 10:00 pm

Mel, who owned the theater gutted the booth and installed the euipment for cinarama. I was their. My father made all the signs for the theater inside and out. This WAS after its run in Philly

Coate
Coate on March 12, 2017 at 12:25 am

HowardBHaas… I believe you’re mistaken about the Keswick. A 3-projector run of “Windjammer” is cited in the Showcase Presentations in Philadelphia article if you want playdate details.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on March 12, 2017 at 12:47 am

Thanks Michael Coate for that wonderful compilation!

Coate
Coate on March 12, 2017 at 4:45 am

^ You’re welcome.

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