United Theatre

11 Canal Street,
Westerly, RI 02891

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The United Theatre opened in 1926 and and was equipped with a Moller organ. It closed down in 1986. Since then it has sat, forlorn and abandoned, despite its location in hip downtown Westerly.

Dr. Carlos Brogna bought this theatre, along with the rest of the block it sits on, in 1996 with a promise to reopen it as a live music theatre by 2000. Four years after the United’s promised rebirth no work has yet been done. Supposedly he is now in negotiations with a local group to use it as a live performance space.

Contributed by Roger Katz

Recent comments (view all 31 comments)

rivest266 on April 5, 2009 at 11:53 am

General Cinemas owned this in the 1960’s according to the IMPA

TheMovieCritic on May 25, 2010 at 11:46 am

WOW!! What a blast from the past this is! This was one of two local neighborhood theaters in the area. I remember seeing some great movies at The United in the early eighties including “Raiders Of The Lost Ark” (summer 1981 & re-release 1982), & “Return Of The Jedi” on Memorial Day 1983. Me & my brother got there an hour and half before showtime (the 7:15 pm show) to ensure good seats! Looong wait. Totally worth it. I also remember seeing “Vacation” & “Risky Business” as a rare double bill in January of 1984. The last movie I saw there was “Ghostbusters” in October of 84. Its a shame that The United hasn’t been restored yet. In this era of digital projection as well as sound it would be quite an awesome theater. It really is a shame. Also today marks the 28th anniversary of the release of “Return Of The Jedi” & the 33rd anniversary of “Star Wars”.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 12, 2010 at 5:45 am

from Boxoffice Magazine, April 23, 1938:
Four Westerly and Mystic Houses Will Be Renovated
WESTERLY, R.I. – Jack Findlay, owner and operator of the Central, United and Lyric Theatres here and the Strand, Mystic, Conn., is renovating all four houses. Work on the Central, which will double its present seating capacity, is in progress. At the same time two new rectifiers and two lamps are being installed in the United and new carpet laid. The 400-seat Lyric, closed for many years, will soon begin complete renovation, while next in line the Strand will be entirely modernized. Findlay plans to operate the three Westerly houses full time first-run."

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on August 12, 2010 at 12:36 pm

This article appeared in the Westerly Sun in 2009 and deals with a former ticket seller, Sue Quattromani Brunelle, who worked at the United from 1955-1963. It includes a view of the ticket booth. There are some interesting recollections of the theatre and its patrons.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on February 8, 2011 at 3:21 pm

Christmas party for 700 kids at the United Theatre in 1936.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 20, 2011 at 7:36 am

Last April the theatre was open to the public briefly, as reported in this article in The Westerly Sun, which includes a photo of the interior. ARTICLE

TivFan on October 8, 2012 at 11:06 pm

The United can be seen, briefly, in “Lolita” (l962, directed by Stanley Kubrick). James Mason (as Humbert Humbert) narrates: “…I decided to spend a peaceful summer in the attractive resort town of Ramsdale, New Hampshire.” A shot of Westerly is used to represent Ramsdale. The camera shows a taxi driving down Railroad Avenue, then turning left onto Canal Street. The camera shot follows the taxi, and the United is seen on the left side of the picture. The scene is very brief, at the 12 minute-30 second mark.

Coate on May 23, 2013 at 10:58 am

What company operated this theater during the early 1980s?

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