Latchis Theatre

6 Flat Street,
Brattleboro, VT 05301

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spectrum
spectrum on October 29, 2013 at 12:13 am

The renovation is complete, and the theatre re-opened with a concert and then Gravity moved in to complete its run. I’ve put up 20+ photos in the gallery. A beautiful job! New seats, new carpeting, auditorium floor repainted, revamped lighting (the main square lights on the sidewalls are now multicolored.)

The atmospheric ceiling has been repainted midnight blue and the zodiac signs have been repainted a brilliant white (which glows faintly when the auditorium lights are out). No “stars” but maybe there will be some in a future renovation. What remains to do is restore the proscenium and sidewall Greek pediments, possibly some stage improvements and they’re pretty much done. Auditorium 2 was supposed to have been renovated too but I didn’t get to see it. I know all seats in 2 and 3 were replaced (aud 4 is all new, and the marquee was restored some time ago.)

spectrum
spectrum on October 17, 2013 at 5:40 pm

Renovation update: The Latchis closed the main auditorium on August 1, 2013 to begin the renovations. They are virtually done and will reopen Saturday October 19, with documentarian Ken Burns presenting the latest episode of his multi-episode documentary on the Rooosevelts.

They are continuing their fundraising but have already raised all but 32,000 of the 550,000 cost of the project.

Renovations include a new Marquee, new seats, new carpeting, some mechanical and safety upgrades and other stuff.

When the auditorium re-opens there will be frequent concerts, film festivals, special appearances and other events in addition to first-run movies.

spectrum
spectrum on June 20, 2013 at 12:27 pm

I believe that the auditorium section of the building (completely remodeled in 1938) was the original Latchis, with a different lobby section extending out to Flat Street. When the Lathis Hotel was built in 1938 at the corner of Flat and Main Streets, they ran the lobby through the hotel building and demolished the old lobby. The auditorium building dates back to at least 1900, and was used as a factory before becoming the original Latchis. It looks very old and originally had windows along the sides (the brick frames for the windows are still there).

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on January 1, 2013 at 10:43 am

The Latchis Theatre is listed in the 1920 business directory at 6 Flat Street. 6 Flat Street is around the corer, but is still the same building. However, the description above says this theatre opened in 1938. Was the one in 1920 at 6 Flat Street a different theatre in the same spot? Was it located elsewhere in the same building?

davidhadlock
davidhadlock on September 26, 2012 at 4:14 pm

I will never forget going to the Latchis in my early teens with my best friend to see “The Sound of Music” when it first came out. It was a beautiful theatre, even back then.

spectrum
spectrum on April 23, 2012 at 4:30 pm

The Latchis is planning some renovations for summer of 2012. This will include replacing about 90% of the seats (and refurbishing the remaining 10%), restoring the ceiling of the main auditorium (and the signs of the Zodiac) and putting in new carpeting, and some removations to the walls in the Ballroom audotorium. This should be all done by the end of August.

spectrum
spectrum on March 26, 2011 at 9:47 pm

Some more details:

Each auditorium has it’s own name:

1: Main Stage. Seating: 519 orchestra, 243 (usable) Balcony
2. Ballroom. (upstairs) Seating: 108
3. Jewel Box. (the former back orchestra) Seating: 130
4. Lathis 4. (in adjacent storefront) Seating: 100

The proscenium is 31 feet wide, the stage 26 feet high, the stage is 18 feet deep from plaster line (proscenium?) to the back wall. is 18 feet deep

spectrum
spectrum on March 26, 2011 at 9:22 pm

With the closing of the Kipling Cinemas on 3/27/11, the Lathis should start doing very good business, being the only cinemas left in town.

spectrum
spectrum on November 27, 2010 at 11:15 am

Update (November 2010): The fourth screen (in the adjacent storefront space) is now showing movies on a daily basis. It is located in an adjacent storefront with access from the main lobby – off to the left after the concession stand. Nice clean modern design inside – full capacity listed as 112 seats. Movable padded chairs, nice screen. You’re actually facing towards the front of the building, the front part of the store space is walled off, it looks like eventually that will be a separate lobby once its renovated. A great addition to the complex!

The Building is a fairly extensive complex – one of only two art-deco style commercial buildings in the state of Vermont. It includes the LatchisHotel (renovated), a large bar (space (I believe currently vacant), a restaurant and retail spaces along the side as well as the four screens. The auditorium section is a much older building with newer portions built around it (hence the long lobby). You can shop, eat, have a drink, see a movie and sleep over all in the same building! I look forward to the restoration of the main auditorium and refurbishment of the seats in the main aud and the upstairs theatre.

aml
aml on June 29, 2009 at 12:12 pm

Re: the Marquee and incorrect spelling of Theatre: The Latchis Theatre was always spelled ending “re” not “er”. When this marquee was ordered the sign printing company thought they were correcting a misspelling, and they changed it to Theater. A correct sign was never ordered and the wrong one remains. Be assured that any new Marquee will have the correct spelling.

aml
aml on June 29, 2009 at 12:06 pm

On behalf of Brattleboro Arts Initiative, the non-profit organization which owns the Latchis, it is wonderful to read the inspiring comments on Cinema Treasures comments pages. Please allow me to bring you up to date with some of the Latchis' recent endeavors.
The Latchis Theatre is currently campaigning to raise funds for a new marquee and a fourth theater. One of the Cinema Treasures comments mentions the “unpretentious” facade. That is polite way of describing our marquee. A new marquee would relate the facade of the building much better to the wonderful interior art-greco style of the theater and add a real spark to bustling downtown Brattleboro. I also see a comment relating to our new performing arts room. BAI has designed a new, cutting edge, multi-use theater in this room. It has the original terrazzo floor and its own access to Main St. It is time to start building. We have raised money to begin but we need more for completion. If anyone knows of organizations or individuals who might be interested in helping, please let us know!
Recently, an interesting article was written in Northampton’s Valley Advocate. It also included several wonderful panoramic photos of the building. Check out http://www.valleyadvocate.com/article.cfm?aid=9854 .
Thank you for you enthusiasm! Please feel free email () or drop by 50 Main St., Brattleboro, VT 05301 anytime! Thank you, Ben James, BAI President

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on September 17, 2008 at 1:47 pm

The THSA lists the opening date of the Latchis in Brattleboro as Sept. 22, 1938, 1200 seats.

spectrum
spectrum on August 10, 2008 at 10:56 pm

Here is a recent photo of the Latchis Auditorium:

http://www.sover.net/~spectrum/latchis.jpg

Unfortunately it does not show most of the great murals and plasterwork on the sidewalls that evoke the outdoor greek scene, or the top of the greek pediment on the proscenium. Also, the statue of the ticket taker was not at the left of the proscenium when the photo was taken (He’s there now; still don’t know who he is). It actually loooks a lot bigger when you enter the auditorium than in this photo. Once the auditorium is restored it will look quote impressive. It’s a very classic look considering it was built in 1938. The theatre even retains that distinctive smell (old plaster and buttered popcorn) that can only be enjoyed in the few remaining old theatres that still show movies.

jukingeo
jukingeo on July 26, 2008 at 10:53 am

Yes, for me it was a vision of pure genius at work there and at that point I had not seen it before. It was something so simple yet almost always overlooked. Nowadays I always use the Latchis as a reference for anyone that wants to restore an old theatre that has a balcony, but they need more functional space to make the project a worthwhile (meaning profitable) venture.

I know the purists would disagree and most want to have a theatre bolt for bolt nut for nut restored. But what many purists do not realize is that any theatre project MUST function as a business or else it will cease to exist. And that is the story for most of the glorious picture palaces that were lost.

So it is a constant war going on between historical accuracy, restoration and operation as a business.

Going multi-functional is always a sure fire way to keep an old theatre in business, but extra space is always a major consideration.

The idea behind the Latchis and it’s under balcony theatre is pure genius at work, by more so it proved that the Latchis family was thinking about the historical significance of their theatre and everything they possibly could to keep it running while maintaining it’s historical integrity.

So this is a message that goes out to all “would be” theatre restorers. Go to Brattleboro Vermont and closely examine the Latchis Theatre. There are many many many construction ideas there that can be put in a classic structure while still maintaining much of it’s historic integrity.

It does go without saying the Latchis is one of my favorite theatre buildings. Outside of it’s unique design it also has a very unique auditorium. The wall murals and structures are asymetric and the ceiling depicts constellations as opposed to just stars. Sadly, when I was there the ceiling wasn’t operational, but they do intend to make it as such as the theatre is slowly undergoing a restoration.

Geo

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on July 24, 2008 at 6:18 pm

Not to be redundant, but yes again. It dumbfounded me to see the way they split it up. I cocked my head in disbelief when I saw the auditorium intact and when I saw the balcony off limits with no movie showing, I was confused until I heard a movie and turned and saw it across from the balcony upstairs. Very strange and very nice.

jukingeo
jukingeo on July 24, 2008 at 10:39 am

Hello shoeshoe14

I had the “Grand Tour” of this theatre when I was first up in Vermont. It is a very unique theatre and it was one that always stuck in my mind. First the unique atmospheric design and second in the placement of the 2nd and 3rd screens.

The Latchis theatre also had a ballroom at one time (when it was just a single screen. The ballroom was upstairs and across from the theatre. This is what is now theatre 2 and explains the odd positioning of that theatre.

The Latchis family obviously love their theatre and strived to keep it’s beauty intact. So they took a unique approach to dividing the theatre’s space. The result of their efforts is remarkable and it is something I will ALWAYS keep in my mind for a way to split a theatre while retaining much of it’s historic integrity.

Back in the 70’s and 80’s when theatres realized that they had to split them to show two (or more) movies at once to cover costs, they did anything to attain that goal. So many old theatre’s were tastelessly split down the middle, or at the balcony level (or both). This method utterly destroys the original integrity of the theatre. But the Latchis family was VERY smart. They figured that they could reduce the main theatre’s excessive seating, gain functional additional space (in the form of another screen), AND still keep 85% of the theatre still intact. The result, make use of the otherwise dead space below the balcony. Now that was just one facet, but how the plan was implemented was sheer genius at work. If you were not told that the Latchis was split, you would come to the quick conclusion that the theatre was designed that way. That is how seamless the division is and it doesn’t hurt the main space as the grandeur of the full balcony and the atmospheric theatre’s ceiling remain fully intact.

Listen up to all you theatre restoration experts. If you need space THIS is the RIGHT way to divide a theatre.

For this reason alone the Latchis will always remain in my mind as a prime example of a very smart decision on a balance between obtaining more usable space without botching the historic appearance of a classic theatre.

So the Latchis theatre will always get a double thumbs up for this move.

Geo

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on July 23, 2008 at 7:17 pm

Saps, I took over 20 pics and would be happy to email you some of them! Email me at

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on July 23, 2008 at 7:16 pm

I was passing through last week and it looks like Spectrum did a great job of describing what I saw. I had always seen pictures of atmospheric theatres but to be inside one made me so elated and sad and humble. The seats were beat up but some were newer looking. The tile inlay in the lobby, the outside ticket booth, shiny floors, murals, large wooden poster holders and statues were very memorable -especially the zodiac in the lobby on the floor. The kid working had no idea about the place or what atmospheric meant until I explained it to him. He answered phones very uncaringly.

Facing the stage on the left corner under the Roman arches was a lifesize old man ticket taker behind a podium. Perhaps this was a former owner? Since there wasn’t an adequate source of lighting in the center of the ceiling (although the house lights were on), I couldn’t get a good picture of the proscenium but the zodiac above was beautiful.

The other 2 theaters were strangely placed, as I’ve never seen theaters do that before. One was placed behind the statue in the lobby facing down to the left. Apparently, they moved the wall back and got rid of many of the rows of seats from the back of the auditorium and it slopes down under the lobby. The other theater upstairs was across from the balcony in the former hotel space. The balcony was intact through the windows but it wasn’t open.

Outside of the theater, from the bridge on the other side of the river, there were mini-murals in the boarded up windows, depicting inside theatre scenes. On the top was a window that read, “Latc Now Sh Latchis For The” and continued on the other window to its right continued with, “his Owing Center Arts.” I thought that was cute. To the right of that on a separate piece of building was another pair of windows, much closer together that said “Latchis Theater” and below were the lobby doors. Above that were 2 more windows which depciting 3 sections of auditorium seats with the proscenium and blue background behind the proscenium. The last mural above that was 3 windows close together depicting the statue from the lobby with the curtains raised above it.

spectrum
spectrum on July 23, 2008 at 9:17 am

The Latchis has opened a 4th screen in the store space to the immediate left (south) of the lobby entrance. It is being used for performing arts shows, particularly during the monthly Gallery Walks. Hopefully they will eventually start showing movies there too. The other three screens continue to show first run movies, frequently getting the big releases (Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, etc.). As part of the greek revival theme, the walls in the inner lobby, staircase and 2nd floor mezzanine are done as plaster stone blocks. The ones in the stairwell and upper area have never been repainted, and still show the skillfull shaded paint scheme which makes them look very realistic (they’re still pristine after 70 years, still look brand new!) The ones on the first floor have been painted cream, and it’s quite a difference. It shows how much better a restoration would look if they, hopefully, choose to recreate the original color scheme and not just put on a quick coat of paint.

The ceiling is painted blue, could use a new coat as the paint they used to cover cracks does not match. They did repaint the constellations, but I have never seen the stars turned on. The setas in the main auditorium are original and pretty beat up. It would look great when restored.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on August 30, 2007 at 5:20 pm

Could somebody post some pictures of the interior, especially the atmospheric balcony area?

jukingeo
jukingeo on July 17, 2007 at 9:50 pm

Hello guys,

Sorry I almost forgot about the pictures.

If you want the pictures for the Latchis, I will send them to you, but I need your email addresses. I am not going to bother with photo bucket. I have ALOT of pictures and I would have to send them to you via many zipped packages. Also you will need high speed internet connection or you will be up all night downloading.

The pictures are full shot 800 by 600 so they will take up quite a bit of space on a hosting site anyway.

Oh! I do have a You Tube and a Yahoo account, but again I am not sure what Yahoo’s bandwidth restrictions are and I am not even sure that you tube will handle pictures. I only think they do video.

Geo

jukingeo
jukingeo on March 8, 2007 at 2:02 pm

Hello Lost
No I dont have THAT many, but I have quite a few. Some pictures are a bit dark though. Keep in mind I didn’t have a pro camera with me. But I have lighted up most of the pictures so you can see some detailing.

The Latchis is a very unique theatre. I would almost say it is up there with the rest of the picture palaces. While not as massive and overpowering as most golden age theatres are, it it rich in character.

Unfortunately the week I went to Brattleboro, the rather boring “A Scanner Darkly” was playing and I didn’t go for an actual screening. But the tour was LOADS of fun and I got to see what most people dont.

Vermont has alot of theatres that are a must see. Two I didn’t get to see where the Rutland Paramount and Vermont’s crown jewel, the Burlington Flynn.

Geo

jukingeo
jukingeo on March 8, 2007 at 11:23 am

Hello Lost, Roland.

Photobucket? Yeah I heard of them…but I have ALOT of pictures. Not just a few. Is there a limit to a free account? I took pictures of the lobby, all three auditoriums, the stage/backstage areas. Projection booth…etc. Lots of good stuff.

Geo

Roland L.
Roland L. on March 7, 2007 at 6:18 pm

Geo1, could you please look into my profile for my email address and send those pictures you have of the Latchis? I cannot find your contact info in your profile.