Belfast Opera House

111 Church Street,
Belfast, ME 04915

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The old Opera House block in Belfast was constructed in the latter half of the 19th Century. The theater is upstairs on the second floor. There is a fairly large flat-floored auditorium with a shallow U-shaped balcony. Live shows were featured for many years with movies introduced sometime before 1914. I don’t know if the house was wired for sound in the late-1920’s. The theater is intact today but largely unused. The remainder of the building has commercial and retail space, plus apartments upstairs.

Contributed by Ron Salters

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on September 15, 2015 at 7:24 pm

The Belfast Opera House is listed in the 1897-98 edition of the Julius Cahn Official Theatrical Guide. F. Cottrell was Mgr. The theater was on the second floor. 800 seats. Electric illumination. The proscenium opening was 27 feet wide X 15 feet high, and the stage was 20 feet deep. Newspapers: Belfast Age and Republican Journal, both weeklies. Hotels for show folk: Windsor and Revere. Railroad: Maine Central. The 1892 population was 6,000.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on September 15, 2015 at 7:36 pm

Not too long ago, the theater was cosmetically refurbished. The Opera Block seems to be in good condition. I’m sure that there are residents in Belfast who would like to see the theater restored to use as a local PAC- performing arts center.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on September 16, 2015 at 7:03 pm

Perhaps I missed it, but looking at recent photos taken inside the theater, I didn’t notice a projection booth, either at the rear of the balcony or the rear of the main floor. They have a number of old curtains and drops and they alternate hanging them on the stage. Especially nice is a drop curtain with a scene of Belfast Harbor painted on it.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 18, 2015 at 4:41 am

This web page says that the Belfast Opera House was built in 1866-1868 by contractor Axel Hayford, and was originally called Hayford Hall.

The November 26, 2014, issue of the Penobscot Bay Pilot ran this article reporting that the Belfast Opera House had been added to Maine Preservation’s “Most Endangered Properties” list.

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