Kent Theatre

2459 Kensington Avenue,
Philadelphia, PA 19125

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The People’s Theatre originally opened in 1890, seating over 2,200, and was located on Kensington Avenue. In 1914, Thomas Lamb was hired to remodel the theater, and its seating was reduced to about 1,930 at this time. From 1924-26, the People’s Theatre was renamed the Desmond Theatre. In 1927 it was remodeled to the plans of Hoffman & Henon and was renamed Kent Theatre after having been taken over by Warner Bros. Circuit Management Corp.

The Kent Theatre closed during the 1960’s and was demolished sometime in 1989. Today the site is in use as a basketball court.

Contributed by Bryan

Recent comments (view all 26 comments)

PhillyBob on March 22, 2012 at 10:30 pm

Moviegoer1 – I have the EXACT same set. It was my grandmothers who lived on Somerset St years ago. I was a movie projectionist and in 1985 a friend of mine and I were actually looking to buy the building from a doctor who owned it down in South Philly. It just needed too much work. I worked at the TLA and 22 other theatres in Philly from 1978 to 2003. I used to go to the kent when I was very young… I think “Batman” was one of the last films there!

Pham on May 16, 2013 at 7:44 am

The Kent Theatre is a big part of my childhood. I worked there as an usher in 1959 to 1961. Jack Levy, (Uncle Jack), was the manager at that time. He died shortly after I left to join the Air Force in 1961. I use to enjoy watching him give out the lucky bucks on Saturday. The Kent had to be one of the most beautiful buildings. The design was just great. I often wondered what it was like when it was an Opera House. We had a great crew that worked there when I was there. There was Ronnie K, Ronnie J, Jimmy, and me, Richard F.. It is such a shame that a wonderful land mark such as the Kent Theatre had to be torn down.

TheALAN on January 18, 2014 at 8:55 pm

TheaterBluff, this is not the forum for your political nonsense. Give it a rest and stay on-topic! … and no one cares what you meant to say!

TheALAN on January 18, 2014 at 11:55 pm

The theater opened in 1890 at Kensington Avenue and E. Cumberland Street and was originally called the People’s Theatre. The architect was George Plowman & Co. of Philadelphia (1406 Chestnut St.) and the client was Mercantile & Store Company. —Source: PAB

Note: The accompanying map shows the theater on Kensington Avenue between E. Letterly Street and E. Hagert Street. THIS IS INCORRECT! The theater was on Kensington Avenue between E. Cumberland Street and E. Letterly Street.

Pham on January 19, 2014 at 2:59 am

Hi “TheALAN” You are right in what you said about where the Kent Theatre was located. That map is incorrect.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on January 19, 2014 at 1:34 pm

TheALAN & pham: Google Maps are not always accurate, especially when the street address and Zip Code are incorrectly given when the theatre page is first submitted. In this case, the address & Zip Code are correct, but it is a block off. The Google Street View has been set to the correct location.

IML8 on September 27, 2014 at 1:23 am

Does anyone remember the dyed chicks and ducklings they gave away at Easter? There was always a green Buick parked outside…I think it was Mr. Levy’s

gmariner on October 25, 2014 at 3:15 pm

I grew up on Cumberland Street near front st. I remember going to the Kent almost every Saturday. If you didn’t like what was playing you could go to the Midway, the Iris or the Howard. I remember the stage shows that were put on occasionally. I too went to Visitation and every time a new religious movie came out it was a class trip. Great memories great times.

gmariner on October 25, 2014 at 3:17 pm

Yes I do remember the dyed chicks. WT Grant used to sell them on Front Street.

howiehangg on August 25, 2015 at 4:53 pm


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