Community Theatre

5441 S. M Street,
Tacoma, WA 98408

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Additional Info

Functions: Church

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Community Theatre

The Community Theatre was opened in 1924. From 1974 to 1984 it operated as an adult movie theatre.

Contributed by jertac

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

eropel on July 10, 2012 at 4:13 pm

This was opened August 20, 1924. In 1930, someone shoved a few sticks of dynamite through the ticket booth window bars and blew the front area to bits. I believe it was part of a Union dispute. I live near this place and it is still a church.

eropel on July 10, 2012 at 4:14 pm

Here is an interior shot with the opening date listed as August 20th 1924.

KenLayton on July 10, 2012 at 11:39 pm


Thanks for posting that link to the interior pictures. I had never seen any inside pictures of this theater before.

jake45 on September 7, 2013 at 10:30 pm

I’m sure I watched the x-rated porno movie Deep Throat at this theater in the early 1970’s. Is that possible? The theater was on south m street.

eropel on March 21, 2014 at 12:30 pm

This is still owned by a church. In the mid-late 80’s is was called Community World Theater and it hosted many underground/punk shows. Nirvana played here many times under different names before they hit the big time. I was at many shows here during that time.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 20, 2015 at 1:35 pm

This item appeared in the May 10, 1924, issue of The Moving Picture World:

“S. R. Stalcup, who is building a Community Theatre at South 56th and M Streets, Tacoma, Wash., in the Yakima Avenue district, has let complete contracts to the Theatre Equipment Co., for projection, 457 seats, stage scenery, decorating, carpets, drapes, etc. The house will cost around $35,000, and will have a handsome marquee elaborating the front.”
The September 13, 1924, issue of Exhibitor’s Trade Review said that the Community Theatre had opened on August 20.

rivest266 on July 12, 2021 at 2:27 pm

This closed in 1984. Playtime Cinemas operated it as an adult cinema from 1974-1984.

Jake Bottero
Jake Bottero on April 7, 2022 at 6:58 am

It is unfortunately a cult religious hall these days.

DavidZornig on May 9, 2023 at 10:32 pm

Was named Community World Theater from February 1987 through June 1988 hosting roughly 140 live music shows. Extensive history with photos in first link below. Second is a Flickr link with 3 photos, 1 on each side of the 1988 facade photo.

DavidZornig on May 9, 2023 at 10:41 pm

Additional history and crisper version of previously posted Monday, October 6, 1930 photo in Facebook link at bottom.

Photo credit Tacoma Public Library, description credit Tacoma Music History link below.

“This photograph of the Community Theatre, 5441 South “M” St., was taken on Monday, October 6, 1930, after the entire front of the building was heavily damaged by explosives the night before. 3-5 sticks of dynamite were shoved through the bars of the ticket office window. Parts of the ticket booth were blown across the street and door castings, drapes, plaster and glass were blown inward as far as the stage. A loudspeaker and projection machine were also damaged. The bombing caused damage to stores across the street with multiple shattered windows, and buildings and houses in nearby blocks were shaken with minor damage.

Luckily, the building was able to be repaired. After a few more decades of service as a neighborhood movie theater, it stood vacant for a time before being reinvented in the 1980s as the Community World Theater. It was there that Kurt Cobain and his bandmates performed, under a variety of early names for their group, before performing for the first time as Nirvana on March 19, 1988."

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