Empress Theatre

155 Main Street,
Danbury, CT 06810

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Roger Katz
Roger Katz on July 30, 2012 at 3:36 am

Heirloom Arts Theatre website is http://heirloomarts.org/

caterslo
caterslo on June 30, 2012 at 2:24 pm

I have great memories of both Theaters. My Grandfather ran the projector for all the movies at the Empress, and my Uncle’s Brother by marriage worked for the Palace. We lived above the Empress as a child. And got to see many of the old Disney Movies,ect Oh the great times we had as a child. I remember the beautiful Fountain in the lobby, that we would throw a penny into for a wish. And the beautiful chandelier’s I always wondered what happen to the marble fountain, and the huge stain glass Chandelier. I remember walking up the metal stairs outside the building to get to the projector room with my grandpa. If anyone can give me any information on the fountain I would love to know where she ended up, and the huge chandelier. thanks for the memory..

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on March 5, 2011 at 12:18 pm

Thanks Dave great old photo,thanks for posting.

bicyclereporter
bicyclereporter on March 4, 2011 at 8:34 pm

Postcard from 1934 showing Palace and Empress marquees.
Both movies, “Six of a Kind” and “Long Lost Father” are from 1934.

http://yfrog.com/h2e623j

bicyclereporter
bicyclereporter on March 3, 2011 at 11:57 am

I struck gold! I was researching today for a doc I’m producing and Diane at the Museum showed me an old postcard of the 1934 blizzard with the Empress and Palace marquees visible.

I’ll post them later today as well as photocopies of pics (the person didn’t want to donate) of the Capitol’s exterior and INTERIOR! Not ornate at all.

bicyclereporter
bicyclereporter on June 4, 2010 at 11:51 am

I’m very happy today. I was doing research at the Danbury Museum for an unrelated project the last few days and found many pictures of the Palace, Capitol and Empress Theatres, and not just the traditional “Images of America” book pictures. I’ve found countless viewspoints including aerial!!!

Unfortunately, I cannot post pics still, so I’ll send them over to Roger Katz. For folks interested in these great black and white and some color photos, I’d be happy to email them to you in a zipped file. They are great.

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on April 11, 2009 at 11:43 am

From today’s “Do you remember?” in the News-Times.
Displays and demonstrations of modern equipment for the kitchen, dining room and pantry are included in the program of The Danbury News-Times cooking school, which opened this week in the Empress Theater.

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on January 30, 2009 at 1:20 pm

I was at the Empress Business Center today for a meeting at Plaid for the CT Film Fest on the top floor. Cool wrought iron inside and they have a little porch with chairs outside on the roof.

Anyway, they have 2 historical photos in the lobby, one of a whole cast smiling for a portrait on the stage. The other photo is of a bunch of people milling about outside of the entrance, which didn’t look like any great entrance.

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on May 16, 2008 at 8:37 am

The Empress, now Heirloom Arts Theatre will be one of the 8 host venues for the CT Film Fest on May 20-25. They will provide seats and the screen will be above the now performance stage. Go to www.ctfilmfest.com

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on August 10, 2007 at 9:22 am

The News-Times featured the changing of the Empress Ballroom over to the Heirloom Arts Theatre in today’s paper. Studio e will still be downstairs as well as their art gallery.

It will be run by Jay LaPierre, 27, from Bethel who is raising funds to renovate the space. He plans to make the approximately 2,000 square feet of space into a multimedia venue with live music performances, movies and stage theatrical productions. He’s qualified because his day job is at the Ridgefield Playhouse as director of operations. He wants to install a central heating and air-conditioning system and upgrade the bathrooms, as well as refinishing the floors, a new paint job, installation of sound-absorption material, a new snack bar area, expansion of the stage, and installation of a 35-millimeter projection system.

There’s a fundraiser this Sunday with a tag sale, outdoor barbecue and musical performances in the early evening.

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on April 24, 2007 at 12:46 pm

Two new developments. The building is now called “Empress Professional Center” with that name imposed on the metal parking signs in back.

The Empress officially closed 2 weeks ago and the place is now renamed “Heirloom Arts Theatre”. They had a benefit opening night last Saturday and the place will be a variety of things, like cinema, bar and a performing arts place. The Empress had constant all-ages shows with touring bands, but it became old too quick and often didn’t attract many others. You can visit them at myspace.com/heirloomartstheatre

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on March 12, 2007 at 4:07 pm

Well, there’s quite a bit of good news. Who wants to see films back at the Empress? Seems like local artist Jay LaPierre (did work locally and still does, Danbury, Ridgefield) is taking advantage of the closing of the Empress musical space and will convert it to a single-screen cinema (or try to) mirroring a comfy cinema/lounge area with 100 seats or so. The recent drop-down ceiling will definitely help with the sound. More on this as it develops.

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on March 6, 2007 at 9:36 am

Somewhat bad news about the performance space upstairs, from my email.
“NEW BUSINESS BUMPS THE BALLROOM – LAst Empress email EVER!!!
This will be the last Empress email you ever get…Empress Ballroom will transform into an awesome new artsy business over the next few months. This will be very cool. details to come – keep checking http://www.briansstudio.com for updates. All the good big tours that we missed/passed on within the last year were due to this deal brewing. There may still be some occasional shows too… Check www.manicproductions.com for other good upcoming local/national
shows, or to book your tours or bands in the area. -Empress Staff

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on February 22, 2007 at 5:16 pm

Great news for bands that play the echoing ballroom. I was there yesterday and saw the new drop ceiling. The echo has nearly vanished. I went to the original balcony and saw the many wires from the original ceiling to the new ceiling. It looks about 30 feet from the original ceiling.

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on January 24, 2007 at 3:22 pm

You can see an overhead view of downtown Danbury in CT Circle Magazine from 1946 in the local history room of Danbury Library. Call number 974.692C. You can see the Empress and the Palace (Palace sticks out obviously). Page 2 and 16 are overheads.

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on August 10, 2005 at 2:56 pm

Nothing that important, but the co-owner Billy just sold the place to his friends who are already the co-owners who’ve been there since the beginning. Nothing changes.

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on February 14, 2005 at 4:14 pm

I was thumbing through the Centennial Edition of the News-Times in the local history room and came across some memorabilia of the Empress. There’s an ad on page 101 of the edition that’s Volume I (Part 1) that has a large spread of combination vaudeville and motion pictures, complete with cost and showtimes. The ad is from March 1925 and refers to “5 acts of vaudeville” as well as the movies, “The Ancient Highway”, “Stage Struck” and “The King on Main Street”.

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on February 11, 2005 at 7:42 pm

1922 was the first year the Empress was listed as vaudeville and motion pictures according to the 1922 City Directory.

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on February 7, 2005 at 9:55 pm

Actually, the first year it showcased vaudeville was in 1913 according to the 1913 Danbury City Directory.

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on February 1, 2005 at 7:02 pm

I forgot to add there’s a new occupant in the former Empress offices besides the usual offices (temp agency). It’s the one-year-old Brazilian Cultural Center. Members of the organization have just started an amazing arts and cultural publication called “Think About It…” and one of the pictures includes the inside blueprints of what their new space will look like when remodeled as well as the outside on the current Palace Walk, relandscaped a few years ago with cobblestone patterns and lampposts. Anyway, the inside blueprints show the arch of the ceiling currently but you can tell the lines of sight are from the theater. Their space is the second from the front of the street and it clearly looks like their space is the back of the auditorium with the balcony.

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on February 1, 2005 at 5:30 pm

The 1967 City Directory doesn’t list the Empress.

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on January 27, 2005 at 8:44 pm

I am writing a book, and was doing research at WCSU’s University Archives. Anyway, i was looking at the old city directories, and found additional info on the Empress. From the 1916 Directory, it lists the Empress as a Vaudeville theatre at 157 Main Street. The 1923 Directory lists the Empress as Vaudeville and Motion Pictures at the same address. I am up to the early 1940s and will update again on Tuesday.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on January 7, 2005 at 7:01 am

The seating capacity for the Empress Theatre given in the Film Daily Yearbook, 1941 is 1,385. In the 1950 edition it it was slightly reduced to 1,313.