Old Town Theater

815 1/2 King Street,
Alexandria, VA 22314

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Richmond Playhouse Auditorium From The Stage

Originally opened as the Richmond Theater in 1914, it was the first permanent theater constructed in Alexandria and screened silent movies and vaudeville. The owners reportedly operated a vaudeville theater on the first floor and a dance hall on the second floor until around 1932, and the dance floor was later replaced with a balcony.

The cinema was twinned in 1980, making the balcony a second screen, and re-opened as the Old Town 1-2.

The Old Town was closed in 1999, and was reopened on Valentine Day 2002, after renovations were completed bringing the bathrooms up to ADA approved code, replacing the seats to a comfortable level and adding lighting and sound systems. The screen was removed opening the stage for live plays and a comedy venue. In December 2002, the Old Town Theater was closed.

The Old Town Theater re-opened in February 2004 with “Gone With the Wind” and “Philadelphia Story”. It was closed in early-January 2012 and later that year the façade was being restored. It reopened as a live performance theatre, but was closed in 2014. In August 2019 it was announced that plans were put forward to convert the Old Town Theatre into a Patagonia clothing store, keeping the stage and balcony for events, with a planned opening for March 2020.

Contributed by Ross Melnick, Sean Doerr

Recent comments (view all 22 comments)

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on February 4, 2012 at 8:16 pm

And here was the theater rental info, including screen size:
Old Town Theater is available for:

Corporate Meetings / Business Meetings Conferences / Conventions Events and Parties Birthday Parties The Theater features:

A 400+ stadium seat venue High Definition projector 16' by 22' screen computer imagery DVD, VCR, & Cable Digital Surround Sound Remote internet access Microphones: Wireless & Stand The Theater’s Restaurant Serves:

400+ Lunch and Dinner buffets Beer and Wine on trays stablized in the seat’s cupholders Menu

Giles
Giles on September 4, 2012 at 8:26 pm

ABC 7 is stating the theater will become a vaudeville type ‘live’ theater.

richmurphy
richmurphy on January 27, 2013 at 5:56 pm

The theatre’s status should be changed to “open”.

http://www.oldtowntheater1914.com/home.html

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 19, 2014 at 2:21 am

A two-page article about the Richmond Theatre appeared in the September 7, 1929, issue of Motion Picture News. It featured before and after photos of the front and rear of the auditorium, showing the changes made during the recent renovation of the house. The project was designed by architect Harry A. Brandt.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on April 14, 2015 at 2:16 pm

1964 photo as the Richmond Playhouse added courtesy of Spade Lively.

JustinBlasdel
JustinBlasdel on May 17, 2015 at 10:36 pm

Hello,

I’m not sure who to ask of this, but I recently purchased an old paper from a garage sale out here in Oregon that was originally from the Alexandria Gazette Friday December 27 in 1918 that details a show in the Richmond Theatre “The One Woman” by Thomas Dixon, in the Grand Theatre “The Girl from Huylers”, and in the Ingomar Theatre “Rosemary Climbs the Heights” staring the (then) beautiful young actress Mary Miles Minter. It only has a little bit of tearing at the top, it’s completely legible, but I don’t know how to make sure it’s completely authentic. Either way, it’s an interesting find. It even has an article on the back telling people that if they continuously can’t call certain people, then it’s because the other person keeps forgetting to properly hang up the telephone. Would anyone here know of a person who might want this find?

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on April 11, 2020 at 1:42 pm

2010 article with circa 1929 photo. Eddie Darling in “The Rainbow Man”, which was a pre-code musical drama film. Added to gallery with credit in case link goes dead.

https://alextimes.com/2010/03/out-of-the-attic-richmond-theater/

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on April 11, 2020 at 3:22 pm

3-8-19 news- what will occupy the long-vacant Old Town Theater in Alexandria: a Patagonia retail store.

The outdoor apparel and equipment retailer will open in the 8,500-square-foot space, Patagonia spokesperson Corley Kenna confirmed to the WBJ. While Patagonia gear is sold at dozens of other locations around Greater Washington, this will be just the second dedicated store for the company in the region after Georgetown.

The retailer is keeping its plans for the store pretty quiet for now, but did say plans on a 2020 opening. https://www.bizjournals.com/washington/news/2019/03/08/heres-whats-going-into-the-old-town-theater-in.html

from the company’s website: Opening March, 2020 Taking great care to preserve its beautiful character and value as a performance venue, we’re pleased to announce the spring opening of a new Patagonia store in Alexandria’s beloved Old Town Theater at 815½ King Street. It’s our first store in Virginia, and we’re really excited to join the community. We realize what it meant to see the theater close back in 2014, but we intend to keep a lot of its energy alive by providing a steady stream of events, films and presentations, as well as a gathering place to support environmental nonprofits working to defend clean water and air, protect wildlife and divest from dirty technologies. The stage remains a stage with sound and lighting, and the balcony provides a rotating gallery for the work of area artists and a place to host meetings and events. The space devoted to product will hold a beautiful selection of quality clothing and gear for the whole family.

mratan
mratan on October 16, 2020 at 12:02 pm

Sad to see Old Town Alexandria movie theater converted. I actually worked there in early 80’s during my last years of high school.

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