Royal Theatre

277 Brightman Street,
Fall River, MA 02720

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The Royal

The Pastime Theatre was located in a section of the city known as the “Village”. It was opened in 1896. By 1932 it had been renamed Royal Theatre. There were kiddie matinees on Saturday and Sunday afternoons; evenings were for adults. First-run movies that had run their course in the bigger movie houses now could be seen for less at the Royal Theatre. Monday evening was “Ladies Night” where either dishes or towels were given out.

The theatre was owned by the Moniz Family. On Saturday afternoon for 12 cents a kid could see a serial, cartoon and two full feature films, one of which was always a western. With so many kids it got so noisy you could hardly hear what the actors were saying. On many an occasion, Mr. Moniz would turn up the lights, shut off the movie and walk to the front of the theatre to proclaim, “If you kids don’t keep quiet, I’ll shut the movie off and send you all home”. He never did! Ah, what great times.

The Royal Theatre was still open in 1952, but had closed by 1955. The building was purchased by St. Joseph’s church and downstairs converted to a banquet hall and the upstairs theatre into a basketball court. It was then sold by the church to a company that made caskets.

The Royal Theatre was planned to be restored as the home of the Youth Musical Theater. But this never happened.

Contributed by George H. Petrin

Recent comments (view all 11 comments)

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on March 8, 2005 at 3:53 am

See article at View link . Status should be changed to restoring.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on March 8, 2005 at 6:59 am

The article that you linked to says Royale, not Royal. Which is correct?

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on April 16, 2005 at 9:25 am

Here are two recent photos I took of the Royal. ONE TWO

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 6, 2006 at 4:39 am

An impressive collection of rare photos of historic Fall River theatres can be seen by clicking here.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 26, 2006 at 7:23 am

In a 1990 Fall River Herald article on the city’s theatres, John McAvoy wrote, “The Royal Theatre (capacity 500) was located on the south side of Brightman Street near the railway tracks. I was only in the Royal once, but I remember when a train passed by you could feel the vibrations in the theatre.”

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on July 5, 2006 at 10:56 am

This 1941 photo of the marquee and front of the Royal, though from a photocopy of very poor quality, gives an idea of what the place looked like. It is from the M.G.M. Theatre Photograph and Report. The condition was described as good, the type of patronage was stated as “mill and low income.” The seating at the time was 600 with 550 on the main floor and 50 in the balcony. The Royal had been playing M.G.M. product for three years. A competing theatre was given as the Strand.

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on January 28, 2008 at 7:15 am

Anyone know what happened to the plans to renovate this? I can’t find anything on it since February of 2005.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on February 5, 2009 at 5:01 pm

There aren’t any references to this address on the Youth Musical Theater website:
http://www.ymtc.org/

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on August 6, 2010 at 6:11 pm

Nice 1941 photo.

Ookamithewolf1
Ookamithewolf1 on March 1, 2021 at 1:10 pm

The Fall river Herald did a write-up about this theater in 2016 when it was auctioned off (well, they tried to. No one bid on it). It appears that the attempt from 2005 to restore it has long since been abandoned. It should be moved out of the restoring category.

article link here: https://www.heraldnews.com/news/20160803/side-streets-piecing-together-history-of-royal-theater-building-no-one-wants

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