Carib Theatre

Cross Roads,
Kingston

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With John Pike as architect, the Carib was one of the most unusual atmospheric theatres ever built. The walls and ceiling of the auditorium were designed to create the illusion of being under the Caribbean sea, looking up at the surface. The auditorium was also egg-shaped, with the front end shirred off to create a circular stage area, which was fully equipped for live performances in support of the movies.

When the Carib Theatre first opened in April, 1938, it was the largest building of any kind on the island of Jamaica. Its huge interior measured 1 million cubic feet! The 1,750 seats were divided among the orchestra, balcony, and a small mezzanine that was situated along the right wall. The Carib was reported to be the highest-grossing movie theatre in the entire Caribbean. In 1954, its round proscenium had to be demolished to permit installation of a 54 feet wide CinemaScope screen. In 1982, a new sound system was installed that experts claimed was one of the best in the world due to the acoustics of the egg-shaped auditorium.

Sadly, in 1997, the interior of the Carib was totally destroyed in a fire that started in the ceiling. The exterior walls were saved, and now contain five cinemas operated by the Palace Amusement Company, Ltd.

Contributed by Warren G. Harris

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

Janiehub
Janiehub on November 21, 2004 at 4:06 pm

I was trying to find out if one of the architects that design the Carib theatre was Kenneth Simmons. You can contact me at

Janevonne Hubbard

Greenpoint
Greenpoint on December 19, 2004 at 10:04 pm

Caribe Theare can be seen directly in the backround towards the end of the 1976 film “Rockers”. This was a modern-day Robin Hood story with a happy reggae soundtrack and alot of Rastafarians smoking massive ammounts of marijuana. It also featured an all-star cast of reggae legends including Leroy “Horsemouth” Wallace, Richard “Dirty Harry” Hall,Jacob Miller,Gregory Issacs,Burning Spear,Kiddus I, Robbie Shakespeare.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on September 28, 2007 at 10:53 am

Here is a March 1980 ad from the Kingston Daily Gleaner:
http://tinyurl.com/2mvl8d

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on January 14, 2008 at 7:08 pm

There are photos of the Carib on the Palace website:
http://tinyurl.com/2fcdl4

sartana
sartana on September 4, 2013 at 8:01 am

Here are 2 articles talking in great detail about the Mammoth sound system which was installed in this theatre. The first is from 1982 when the system was first installed, and the second is from 1991 when the system went through a major upgrade.

1982

1991

joel campbell
joel campbell on March 22, 2014 at 4:55 pm

why is this daman site so hard to use, I would like to kwon what movies are showing, and that it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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