Art Theatre

17-27 Pleasant Street,
Worcester, MA 01609

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An old theatre on a side street in the heart of Worcester, Massachusetts. It operated for many years as an adult film theater, which closed in January 2006.

Contributed by Gerald A. DeLuca

Recent comments (view all 24 comments)

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on September 8, 2008 at 7:04 pm

“Someone Who Was There” was in Worcester a couple of weeks ago and managed to get inside the Art. He says that the auditorium is whole and not divided. It says “Twin” at the top of this page, so I assume that it was divided downstairs and upstairs, but there is no evidence of this today. Was There liked the street-level foyer with its staircase going up to the theater; he says the house is in relatively good condition, and reeks of old-time theater atmosphere. He says that there is some sort of drop-ceiling in the auditorium. The biggest surprise was that the stage is only about 7 feet deep. This surprised both of us since we know that it was a live stage theater for the first 20 years or so of its existence. I know that a century ago the troupers in the touring shows were very versatile and could put on their show in any theater, no matter how small the stage. Was There liked this theater very much and hopes the new owner can manage to preserve it.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on June 29, 2010 at 7:20 pm

“Someone Who Was There” tells me that he has heard that the interior of the Art has recently been gutted out.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on April 10, 2011 at 7:19 pm

As the Pleasant Street Theatre, the Art was included in the Worcester theaters on a long list of Massachusetts theaters and halls receiving licenses during the 12 months ending Oct. 31, 1914. Other Worcester entries on the list: Grand Theatre (managed by Poli), Lincoln Park Theatre, New Park Theatre, Plaza Theatre (managed by Poli), Poli’s Theatre, Worcester Theatre, Tuckerman Hall, Mechanics Hall, Columbus Hall, Gem Hall.

Matthew Prigge
Matthew Prigge on November 12, 2012 at 12:31 am

If anyone has any stories about going to/ working at this threatre in its adult days, I would love to hear them. I am chronicling the histories of adult theatres in the US. Please contact me at Thanks!

bbatty
bbatty on May 7, 2013 at 11:26 pm

There are a lot of great comments here about the old Lothrop’s Opera House\Olympia\Fine Arts. However, I’m surprised that in all this time the pictures have not been corrected. The two pictures displayed on this site ARE NOT the same building being described. These pictures are of the Worcester Theatre on Exchange Street in Worcester. This is the second Worcester Theatre, rebuilt right after the original 1860’s building was destroyed by fire in 1889. This was the “high class” legitimate playhouse of the period that saw most of the great stage actors of the 19th and early 20th century appear here.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 6, 2013 at 7:11 pm

bbatty: The 1986 photo linked to by lostmemory in the comment of May 15, 2009, shows the same building that is in the Google Street View currently displayed at the top of this page. The Google view shows Pleasant Street, and is dated August, 2007. I believe that the Worcester Theatre on Exchange Street was long gone by that time. The theater in our photos has to be the Lathrop’s/Olympia/Fine Arts.

Here is a photo of this theater when it was the Olympia. The John Wayne movie Flame of the Barabary Coast is advertised on the marquee, which dates the photo to about 1945.

The photo comes from this weblog post about songwriter Joe Goodman, which is worth a visit in its own right, as are Chet Williamson’s other posts about Worcester’s songwriters.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on June 7, 2013 at 12:11 am

Joe Vogel is correct: both the Google Street View at the top of the page, and the photo linked to by Lost Memory in May 2009 are of this theater, the Art.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 7, 2013 at 3:50 am

I don’t know why I wrote Joe Goodman in my previous comment. The songwriter’s name was Joe Goodwin.

The Worcester Theatre isn’t listed at Cinema Treasures, and I’ve been unable to discover if it ever showed movies, other than a single exhibition of an early sound film process in 1913. Here’s a page with a photo of it anyway. It had a somewhat more ornate front than the Fine Arts, with some nice Romanesque detailing. Almost every comment on the page conflates it with either the Lothrop’s/Olympia/Fine Arts or the Poli/Hanover Theatre.

Frank1956
Frank1956 on April 6, 2014 at 12:02 am

It is the old Olympia. On the second level there still sits in history, the old cast iron chairs with wood seats that fold down. Above and behind the seats in the projector room there is an old projector that used an electronic type rod that (I think)was carbon arc light. There were some old carbon arc rods just sitting around. Yes, lost in time however very interesting just to sit on the old seats and imagine.

Frank1956
Frank1956 on April 6, 2014 at 12:08 am

Did anyone know that there is still an old theater on Main Street in Worcester about 400 feet to the left of the renovated Hanover Theater and across from the old Denholm building.? It is on the second floor. curtain still in place, seats still in place. Does anyone know the name of the hidden theater? I was in there about 5 years ago as a visitor.

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