State Theater

807 Washington Street,
Stoughton, MA 02072

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Showing 1 - 25 of 37 comments

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on October 23, 2018 at 6:51 pm

Bad news about the State appeared yesterday in the Quincy Patriot Ledger: an article “Stoughton May Seize Historic Theater” by Ben Berke. I had not realized that the State was sold about 2 years ago. The previous owner had been sympathetic to the “Friends of the State Theatre” group. But the new owner is tired of the stalled attempt (stalled due to lack of funds) to restore and reopen the house. He wants to demolish the building. The town is considering acquiring the theater thru eminent domain proceedings using Community Preservation funds. But this is a complicated procedure and requires voter approval. So the situation does not look good.

Matt Lambros
Matt Lambros on September 19, 2016 at 2:43 pm

I recently visited the State Theatre – check out some photos and a short write up at After the Final Curtain

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on June 20, 2016 at 6:12 pm

Ron- I’m not sure about that- I have never seen anything listed here in recent years. One activity inside is “deconstruction” – removal of anything that does not fit in to a restored theater. Anyone who comes by while there is a work party inside is welcome to look around.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on June 17, 2016 at 6:11 pm

Are they presenting any live shows or movies at this theatre while working on it?

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on June 17, 2016 at 6:04 pm

There will be an open house at the State Th. on Sat. 6/18 from 10AM. They have open houses occasionally to maintain community support. Work continues on various projects inside waiting for the day when major financial help arrives. Meanwhile, Avocados, a popular new Mexican restaurant in Whitman, is about to open a location in Stoughton, right next to the State’s entrance.

jaboschen on February 23, 2014 at 3:51 pm

I have some photos of the surviving blue prints, and the architects indeed were Funk and Wilcox. It’s interesting, as Ron stated, this firm designed the Strand Theater, as well as the Franklin Park Theater (also in Dorchester), the Ware (aka Cabot Street Cinema) in Beverly, and the Somerville Theatre in Somerville; all of which have a similar style. The Stoughton State, on the other hand, was an atmospheric style theater which utilized an Italian theme. It would be interesting to find some original photos of the auditorium to see how the firm designed their atmospheric theatre, and how it compares to these other venus.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on February 14, 2014 at 7:57 pm

Someone Who Was There tells me that the name of the State’s architect on the surviving blueprints is Funk & Wilcox, the firm which designed the Strand Theatre in the Uphams Corner section of Dorchester.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on February 26, 2013 at 6:47 pm

The Quincy Patriot Ledger of Feb. 25, 2013 has an article “New Group Making Bid to reopen State Theatre” by Teresa Franco. Apparently, the Save the State Theatre group has morphed into the Friends of the State Theatre. (note how these groups use the old original theater name). The Friends has recently signed a 20-year lease with the building owner, C&V Realty Trust. The lease calls for no rent, in exchange for renovating the theater. They have a budget of $2M. The Friends group has 18 members, including the Little Theatre of Stoughton which gave the final performance at the theater in 2007. The Friends is led by town Selectman John Stagnone.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on April 22, 2011 at 7:51 pm

The Quincy Patriot Ledger of Wed April 20 had an article “Stoughton Projects get a Closer Look” about a meeting which took place on Tuesday covering the reopening of the State Theatre and the reopening of the closed-up Stoughton railroad station. Those at the meeting were able to tour the theater. The article states that the STARS group is “using the theater and staging productions there now.” I don’t know how true that statement is.

CSWalczak on March 10, 2011 at 4:30 pm

An article about the efforts to restore and reopen the theater: View link.

Frank C. Grace
Frank C. Grace on February 18, 2011 at 2:32 pm

Here are some of my photographs taken inside the theatre this past weekend:

The theatre is in the process of being restored. For more information, please visit:

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on November 19, 2010 at 7:40 pm

As the State, this theater opened apparently in Dec. 1927. The 1927 Film Daily Yearbook lists one earlier movie theater in Stoughton, the Orpheum, seat count not given, open 6 days per week.

MrDJDude on April 19, 2009 at 9:48 am

According to this article from the Brockton Enterprise, this theater has been purchased by a local businessman with the intent of renovating it and using it as a performing arts center. There are also four photos, two exterior and two of the exterior with the newly restored Italian granite facade.

I never did get to the Cinema Pub when I lived in Randolph. I regret that now, as it seemed like a decent place. Well, cest le vie. I’m guessing this theaters movie-showing days, one way or the other, are over now.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on February 26, 2009 at 2:17 pm

I walked by this theatre yesterday. The marquee is blank, and the lobby is full of trash and debris. Whether that indicates an active construction project, I don’t know. A policeman standing nearby said the theatre was recently sold, but he didn’t know any more details.

The adjoining storefront to the right of the theatre entrance is vacant and appears to be undergoing construction.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on October 2, 2008 at 6:58 pm

I also have heard that the Stoughton Cinema building was sold within recent weeks.

afeaton on September 8, 2008 at 7:05 pm

apparantly, someone did purchase this earlier ‘this month’, i assume they (person i e-mailed) meant august, but no word on what they will do to it.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on September 8, 2008 at 6:59 pm

Unfortunately, that trains service does not run on weekends.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on September 8, 2008 at 6:53 pm

I know someone who stopped in Stoughton a couple weeks ago and found that the retail spaces in the theater building had been recently renovated and one of them had been rented out. The gossip on the street was that the local fire dept. would just as soon see the theater never reopen as it would be one less fire hazard in town. There is local train service between downtown Stoughton and South Station in Boston.

danpetitpas on September 8, 2008 at 7:01 am

There was some chatter on the message boards from last April that the cinema was for sale for $580,000 and the owner was trying to get out from under it. There was also a rumor that a big entertainment company wanted to buy it to host concerts, but the lack of public transportation posed a problem. I believe the building has some stores on the first floor. If you go there, you may be able to get more information. Keep in mind that it was costing the previous operator almost $3,000 a month to heat it, and this winter the cost will be higher. Likewise for air conditioning in the summer.

afeaton on September 8, 2008 at 2:51 am

does anybody know the current condition of this theatre? more specifically, is it still for sale, and does anyone know through whom?

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on July 12, 2008 at 6:28 pm

The Quincy Patriot Ledger has a brief article today which states that the Little Theatre of Stoughton, homeless since the Stoughton Cinema closed, will present its productions in the auditorium of Stoughton High School. The latter opened in the 1960s and was designed with stage performances in mind.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on December 3, 2007 at 1:23 am

The Boston Sunday Globe’s South zoned section ran an article today on the closing of the Stoughton Cinema Pub. This afternoon’s live performance of “A Christmas Carol”, by Little Theatre of Stoughton, was the last scheduled event at this theatre.

It opened on December 8, 1927 as the State Theatre, which means it is closing just six days short of its 80th birthday. The first film ever shown here was “Smile, Brother, Smile,” starring Jack Mulhall and Dorothy Mackaill. (Despite what the Globe article says, I highly doubt that this or any other 1927 film was shown on a “wide screen”.)

Some local folks are trying to start a campaign to save it, but for the time being, we’ll have to change the Status of this theatre to “Closed”.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on November 8, 2007 at 8:04 pm

From “Snyder’s Stoughton” in the online Stoughton Journal, by Mark Synder, dated October 4, 2007:

Stoughton Cinema to close

Mike Harmen, owner for the last eight years of Stoughton Cinema Pub, told Snyder’s Stoughton Friday night (9/28) that he will be forced to close the landmark downtown site. “My new landlord Joe Banks said he’d negotiate the rent, but I can pay the rent. The utilities are what’s killing me. I was paying $2,700 a month for gas. That’s just to heat the place four hours a night. I tried closing Monday and Tuesday nights, hoping that would increase the rest of the week, but it just isn’t working.” Harmen says that it has been a labor of love for him and his wife Pauline. But, he just can’t do it anymore. “I shut down the heat. So, when it starts to get too cold in here, then I will shut the business down. Hopefully, it will stay warm, and I can keep the place open until the end of October.” Harmen, who was a part time worker for Bill Haney, the former owner of the Cinema, and Entertainment Cinemas, rose to GM of that company, which had 14 Theatres and 100 screens in four states. He said that Stoughton Cinema Pub was one of the last remaining single screen theatres anywhere. “Showcase Cinemas in Randolph ate up most of the business. Add to that people buying plasma TV’s, and On Demand services from cable, and it’s disastrous to small theatres like this one.” Harmen, who owns a vending company in Boston, and works there during the day, says he intends to expand that company and “enjoy my nights and weekends.”

Harmen says he hopes that an insulated rubber roof installed by former building owner Gerald Goulston will help him stay through the end of October. “Gerry did some good things here. The roof helped cut heating costs a bit by insulated the building from the top.” As someone who enjoyed coming to the square and catching a movie at the Cinema Pub, I will miss it. But, so will Little Theatre of Stoughton, the Independent Theatre, and Starz. Little Theatre of Stoughton, according to Director Jan Jones, is “not going anywhere out of town.” Jones says that she has negotiated with building owner Joe Banks to rent the Cinema for their holiday show in December. “A Christmas Carol is cast and in production,” she tells Snyder’s Stoughton. “We will be paying for the utilities. The agreement is drawn up and we will go there when Mike Harmen leaves. The Cinema will be shut down after our show.” Jones was unable to say where her group’s performances will be staged after December.

So, go to the theatre and take in a film before it’s too late. And, make sure you say “thanks” to Mike and Pauline. “It really was a labor of love.‘ Harmen says. "But usually the summer blockbusters provided enough 'fat’ to support us through fall and winter. Not any more. We used to have 150-175 people a night here on weekends. Now, it’s more like 45-55. It’s just not enough.” Stoughton will miss having its own one screen cinema.

(content reused here under WickedLocal’s Creative Commons license)

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on November 8, 2007 at 7:32 pm

I have heard that the operation closed because of rising costs. I believe that the cinema pub operators were not also the owners of the building. The Little Theatre had planned to present their Christmas production on stage in December – I don’t know what their status is now.