Royal Theatre

15 Olneyville Square,
Providence, RI 02909

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Royal Theatre 1929

Built in 1914, this neighborhood theatre in the Olneyville section of Providence showed movies until 1934 when it shut down. It may have re-opened for a brief time afterwards. It seems the building remained unused right through the 1940’s and 1950’s, except that the lobby was used as a fruit and vegetable market for a while.

Around the beginning of the 1960’s or perhaps just earlier, the theatre was razed to make way for a gas station.

Contributed by Gerald A. DeLuca

Recent comments (view all 19 comments)

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 15, 2010 at 11:59 pm

From Boxoffice magazine, February 16, 1935:
“Royal Theatre, Olneyville, R.I., is now being operated on Sundays only. House belongs to E.M. Loew.”

[Sounds like it was the death-knell for this place.]

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 16, 2010 at 1:45 pm

Item in Boxoffice magazine, August 22, 1953.

“Peter R. Nelson, one of the best-known and well-loved showmen in the state, recently died at the age of 76. Nelson was at various times owner of the old Auburn Theatre and the Park in Cranston. At one time he also was associated in the operation of the old Bijou in Providence and the Royal in Olneyville. Entering the theatre business in 1920, he operated the Auburn for three years before selling his interests to the Park Theatre Corp., of which he remained a partner until 1936 During the period from 1933 to 1936 he operated the Park. For more than 30 years he also operated a store in the Park Theatre building, retiring in 1951 because of his health.”

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 25, 2010 at 3:28 pm

The Royal as foreign film venue???

“The Royal at Olneyville, R.I. has been reopened after a long shutdown. Foreign films will be shown on Saturday and Sunday of each week, with the house remaining dark the rest of the time."
—-iten in Boxoffice magazine, November 11, 1939

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on January 17, 2011 at 12:16 pm

This theatre was part of the September 1923 6th Paramount Week. In this advertisement from the (Providence) Evening Tribune, September 1, 1923, we see a fascinating list of Rhode Island area theatres, many long-gone and long-forgoten, or even unheard of, as well as what they were showing during that week. CLICK HERE and move text to see all theatres.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on January 18, 2011 at 12:25 am

In September 1920, this theatre was part of the celebration of the 3rd annual Paramount Week. CLICK HERE for all participating RI area theatres and the titles of the films shown.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on January 20, 2011 at 7:00 pm

In September 1922 this theatre was part of Rhode Island’s Paramount Week. Click to see the ad in Providence News, September 1, 1922, which contains a list of all participating theatres as well as the films shown that week.


Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on February 5, 2011 at 12:28 am

Article in The Providence News, October 24, 1919, on the sixth anniversary of the opening of the Royal Theatre on October 26, 1913.
Lots of background on the theatre is contained here, including the addition to the building that raised seating capacity from 900 to 1500.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on February 5, 2011 at 12:43 am

The above newspaper article refers to a 1913 opening. Actually the theatre opened a year later on October 26, 1914. 1919 was the fifth aniversary, not the sixth.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on February 5, 2011 at 1:05 am

Lights out in 1919!!!
RESOURCEFUL MANAGER uses headlights from two cars to light theatre.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on February 8, 2011 at 8:56 pm

Interesting piece reporting on Christmas parties at this theatre and two others in 1922:

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