Located on the top of Proctor’s Palace Theatre, Proctor’s Palace Roof Theatre also opened on November 22, 1915. The Palace was originally used for smaller vaudeville productions before switching over to film at around the same time as its downstairs counterpart.
After the switch, the Roof Theatre was rarely used and eventually reopened in the early 1960s as the Penthouse Cinema, mainly showing foreign films like Ingmar Bergman’s “Secrets of Women.”
RKO Proctor’s Theatre opened in Newark, NJ on November 25, 1915 as the Proctor’s Palace Theatre. The architect was John W. Merrow, the nephew of Proctor theater circuit owner Frederick F. Proctor.
The Palace was a double decker theater, which meant that one auditorium was stacked on top of the other, a rare design choice at the time. The lower, street-level auditorium had 2,300 seats and the upper had around 900. The space was among the largest and most open in the area, leading the city to use it as the site of it’s 250th anniversary celebration in 1916.
View of the stage from the main floor of the Orpheum Theatre
I recently spoke with Lance Gunberg, a graphic designer and filmmaker who is also the president of Orpheum Rising Project Helpers or O.R.P.H, Inc., which is a non-profit organization dedicated to reviving the theater.
The Orpheum Theatre opened on April 15, 1912 — the same day the Titanic sank. Located on Water Street in New Bedford, Massachusetts, it was part of a Beaux-Arts building that was built in 1910 by a French-Canadian group known as Le Club des Francs-Tireurs (The French Sharpshooters Club). The building’s official name is La Salle Francs Tireurs, or French Sharpshooters Hall.
Local architect Louis Destremps — known for his work on the Notre Dame De Lourdes church in Fall River, Massachusetts — designed the building, which included the theater, a ballroom, a shooting range, a gymnasium, retail space and various office and meeting spaces. The Ballroom and Theater served as revenue for the club.
I’ve been exploring and photographing abandoned buildings for several years,
but nothing has fascinated me more than abandoned theaters. After the Final Curtain is a photographic documentary about neglected and abandoned theaters throughout America. Through this project I’m hoping to generate a greater collective awareness of the stories behind these majestic structures and assist any organization that plans to restore them.
The posts will range from general history, to interviews with people who are involved with restoration efforts or were somehow associated with the theaters when they were open.
Here are some examples of theaters that will be featured in upcoming posts