Berklee Performance Center

136 Massachusetts Avenue,
Boston, MA 02115

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Berklee Performance Center

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Built as the Fenway Theatre in 1915, this is now a concert hall owned by Berklee College of Music, which extensively renovated it and reopened it in 1976.

Contributed by Ron Newman

Recent comments (view all 32 comments)

RogerNott
RogerNott on August 27, 2007 at 12:09 pm

The Fenway was an ornate, beautiful theatre, though certainly not as impressive as the RKO Keith Memorial, the Metropolitan, the Lowe’s State, and the Lowe’s Orpheum. There was also a small bowling alley underneath the theatre and accessed through a door to the left of the main entrance.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on April 1, 2009 at 7:36 pm

Photos can be seen here.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on July 6, 2009 at 6:20 pm

The following comes from The Moving Picture World July 1915:

“The work on construction of the new Fenway Theater at the corner of Boyleston Street and Massachusetts Avenue is progressing rapidly. If the present plans work out successfully, the house will be opened to the public on October 15.

This house is being erected by the Colonial Realty Company at a cost of $400,000. In addition to the theater there will be bowling alleys, two stores and two floors of offices. The theater will be run by the Fenway Amusement Company, of which A. Abrams is the president and M. F. Eisenberg is the secretary. Mr. Eisenberg will personally manage the playhouse.

The lobby of the theater will be of marble and mosaic. Every modern equipment will be used. The installation of a $15,000 organ is planned. The company operating the theater intends to operate a chain of picture houaes throughout New England. They have already secured control of the Webster theater at Webster, Mass.

When the house is completed, it will have a seating capacity of 1,700 persons, with one balcony. High class features and select songs are to be used. The house is fully equipped and should the management desire to use vaudeville, it can easily be done".

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on July 6, 2009 at 6:52 pm

The Fenway apparently did not actually open until December 19, 1915, so the October estimate in the article above proved unrealistic. And it had 1,373 seats originally.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on May 13, 2011 at 6:35 pm

The Boston Herald reported today that the Boston Redevelopment Authority yesterday approved the Berklee College Master Plan for their section of Mass. Avenue. I don’t know what’s in the plan today, but 4 years ago it called for the demolition of this theater, and the construction of a new building containing a new theater.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on June 2, 2011 at 6:49 pm

The Jan.15, 1916 issue of Moving Picture World trade magazine had a short item about the recent opening of the Fenway Th. There was also a facade photo. The building was owned by Colonial Realty and managed by Stanley Summer. The movie screen had “gold fibre” cloth. The organist also served at the Trinity Church. There was also an orchestra and “high class” vocal artistes who performed between films. There were young women ushers. Over 15,000 attended the open house on opening day.

MarkB
MarkB on August 16, 2011 at 7:45 am

The Fenway in 1948 can be seen here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/cityofbostonarchives/4404135227/sizes/l/in/photostream/

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on November 30, 2011 at 6:34 pm

The business section of today’s Boston Herald has a short item reporting that today there will be a ground-breaking ceremony hosted by Berklee at 160 Massachusetts Avenue, just a few steps from the Berklee Performance Center. The new building will be a 16-floor dorm with a “performing arts facility”, and will cost $65M. Will the auditorium in this new building replace the Berklee theater???

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on December 1, 2011 at 3:47 am

The Globe has more detail on this: Berklee breaks ground on 16-story dorm, performance center

Only a single one-story building was demolished to make way for this project. The new building will contain a “400-seat student performance venue”. That’s a lot smaller than the existing Performance Center and I think it serves a different purpose.

dickneeds111
dickneeds111 on March 21, 2012 at 10:32 pm

The Fenway in the early 50’s was mostly a moveover from the Paramount. Same could be said of the Downtyown Loews Orpheum and Lowes State. Sometimes they played day and date.

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