Proctor's Theatre

432 State Street,
Schenectady, NY 12305

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Proctor's Theatre

The Art Theatre was opened in 1911 and had 300 seats. It was closed in early-1926 to be remodeled into the entrance to the new Proctor’s Theatre built to the plans of architect Thomas Lamb which opened December 27, 1926 with Bebe Daniels in “Stranded in Paris” on the screen plus vaudeville on stage. The Wurlitzer organ was opened by organist Stephen Boisclair. It operated as a vaudeville and movie house and was home to first run film for decades.

During the 1950’s and 1960’s, Proctor’s Theatre, like so many other theaters, fell victim to the movement out of downtown and its numbers dwindled into the 1970’s when it finally closed.

The Arts Center & Theatre of Schenectady (ACTS) was organized in 1977 and purchased the theatre from the city in 1979 and restored it and reopened as Proctor’s Theatre.

Today, still showing a variety of films, stage shows, and live performances, it is a shining example of the benefits of movie theater revival and re-use.

Contributed by Jeremy Bogan/R. Beck Associates

Recent comments (view all 42 comments)

TheALAN
TheALAN on October 17, 2014 at 11:10 am

This theater opened as Proctors Theatre on December 27, 1925. It closed in the 1970’s. In 1979, the Arts Center & Theare of Schenectady (ACTS) aquired the theatre from the city. On October 4, 1979, Proctors was named to the National Register of Historic Places, (F.F. Proctor Theatre & Arcade #79003237). In 1983 the theater received new carpeting throughout and replicas of the original house curtain and 1926 marquee. Goldie, the mighty Wurlitzer organ, and a hydraulic lift for the organ and orchestra pit floor were installed. In 1984, Proctors Theatre became part of the League of Historic American Theatres (LHAT). After a $30 million renovation and expansion, it reopened as Proctor’s Theatre, (aka: The Mainstage) in 2007. The renovation project won the 2008 Excellence in Historic Preservation award from the Preservation League of New York State and was named as Outstanding Theatre in 2009 by the League of Historic American Theatres (LHAT). The complex now includes the 436-seat GE Theatre, (430 State Street) and the 100-seat Upstairs Theatre, (440 State Street). It’s a shining example of revival and re-use!

TheALAN
TheALAN on October 17, 2014 at 12:01 pm

Ref: Warren G. Harris on July 25, 2007 at 1:16 pm —– Sorry Warren, Proctor and Proctor’s are both correct! The theater was called Proctor Theater when it opened in 1926. The theater closed in the 1970’s and reopened in 1979 as Proctor’s.

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on March 10, 2015 at 8:24 am

The 1914/15 American Motion Picture Directory lists the Art Theatre at 432 State Street in Schenectady. Was this theatre demolished to make way for the Proctor’s or was it remodeled?

iloveequus
iloveequus on October 12, 2015 at 7:34 pm

Proctors Theater was not not demolished. Donald Schein, retired founder and manager of WMHT (local PBS station), volunteered his talents in fund raising to assist Proctors Theater to renovate and to avoid the “ball and chain.” This is a fabulous theater!

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on October 8, 2016 at 10:16 am

1960 photo added courtesy of the AmeriCar The Beautiful Facebook page.

NickyG
NickyG on December 9, 2016 at 11:54 am

Besides shows great place to see screenings of classic flicks…and plenty of places nearby at which to hoist a few to get in the spirits.

graemehartnett
graemehartnett on November 8, 2017 at 9:00 pm

I believe I found the original stage light from this theater in a barn in central Nevada. Their was a note attached to them that said they were from Proctor Theater. They were made by GE and are stunning with mirror reflectors inside. Can anyone point me in a direction of photos of the old lights? I’ll post photos to the page if possible. Thanks for any help.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on October 29, 2018 at 11:04 am

Facebook link to Paul Garrow’s 25 photos of Proctor’s Theatre marquees.

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.2096541637337030&type=3

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on October 29, 2018 at 11:57 am

After browsing around the Schenectady page linked to above, I found several other photos of the Art Theatre that was at 432 State Street prior to Proctor’s. It appears to be the same building in a few of them, so I believe Proctor’s remodeled the existing Art Theatre into their own. I posted only one photo of the Art Theatre entrance in 1913, but there are more available.

Also, the Mohawk Theatre on College Street which was a vaudeville and burlesque venue, ran films for one year it appears prior to closing in 1914. Also claiming to be the first to run an Edison talking film.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on October 30, 2018 at 9:49 am

Here is a Facebook link to some images of the Art Theater.
I believe it was the same building that Proctor’s moved into.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/SchenectadyHistory/search/?query=Art%20Theatre

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