The Orpheum Theatre in New Bedford, MA

Have you ever wanted to photograph an abandoned theater?

I’ve been traveling around the country photographing historic theaters and using my images to raise awareness of their plight for almost 10 years now.

One of the most common questions I get about my work is “Can I come with you?” So, I reached out to some theater owners, and finally the answer to the question is “Yes, you can.” I have co-hosted some workshops in the past, and through those we raised over $10,000 to help with maintenance and other expenses. However, these are solo workshops, which means more money will be going to the owners to help the theaters. While the money from these workshops will never be enough to save a theater, every little helps.

Here are the workshops planned so far. I’ll be adding more dates and locations throughout the year. I hope to see some of you at one of these fantastic spaces.

Emery Theatre

Location: Cincinnati, Ohio

Date/Time: June 24, 2023

The Theatre:  Built as part of the Ohio Mechanics Institute, the Emery Theatre in Cincinnati, Ohio opened on January 6, 1912 as the Emery Auditorium. It was one of four “acoustically perfect” concert halls whose design was inspired by the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago, IL. The other three were the Orchestra Hall, also in Chicago, Carnegie Hall in New York, and the Orchestra Hall in Detroit, MI. It was recently sold for $8.55 million to local developers who intend to restore the building. The restoration costs are estimated at around $30 million and will take about three years to complete.

Cost: $125


View from the orchestra level of the Imperial Theatre.

Imperial Theatre

Location: Cincinnati, Ohio

Date/Time: June 25, 2023

The Theatre: The Imperial is a 700 seat theater that opened in 1913. it closed in the 70s and was used as a mattress store for until the late 2000s. The current owner is looking to restore and reopen it.

Cost: $70



Franklin Park Theatre

Location: Boston, MA


April 16, 2023

The Theatre: The Franklin Park Theatre opened on December 8, 1914 in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts. It was designed by Boston architectural firm Funk and Wilcox, who also designed the nearby Strand Theatre. It was turned into a church in 1963.

Cost: $110


Auditorium, Victory Theatre Holyoke, MA

Victory Theatre

Location: Holyoke, MA

Date: TBA

The Theatre: Construction on the Victory began in the fall of 1919, and cost around $500,000 or $7,057,106.74 when adjusted for inflation. It opened on December 31, 1920, and the proceeds from the theater’s opening night were given to the Holyoke City Hospital and the House of Providence Hospital. Its name is itself a reference to the Allies’ victory during the war. From its opening date, The Victory operated as a “combination house,” showing both films and vaudeville performances. Vaudeville was phased out in the early 1930s for the more popular motion picture screenings.

It closed in the late 1970s and was seized by the city for nonpayment of taxes. In September 2008, the city of Holyoke transferred ownership of the theater to the Massachusetts International Festival of the Arts, who plan to renovate the theater and reopen it as a performing arts center.

Cost: $50.00


Strand Theatre – Boston, MA

Strand Theatre

Location: Boston, MA


August 26, 2023

The Theatre: The Strand Theatre opened on November 11, 1918, in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts. It was designed by Boston architectural firm Funk and Wilcox, who also designed the nearby Franklin Park Theatre. It is currently used for live events.

Cost: $75.00


Auditorium of the “Grant” Theatre.

Grant Theatre

Location: South of Boston, MA



The Theatre: The Grant opened in the early 1900s as a vaudeville theater, and was eventually divided into 2 separate theaters. It’s been closed for several years with no plans to reopen it.

Cost: $65.00


***At the request of the owner the real name and location of this theater will be disclosed only to workshop attendees***

Paramount Theatre – Springfield, MA.

Paramount Theatre

Location: Springfield, MA

Date/Time: April 29, 2023

The Theatre: The Paramount Theater (also known as the Julia Sanderson Theater and The Hippodrome) opened in 1926. Built at a cost of $1 million (13 million when adjusted for inflation), it was the most ornate theater in western Massachusetts. The Paramount closed in 2011 after being used as a nightclub for a few years. It is currently scheduled to undergo a renovation next year and reopen as a performing arts center.

Cost: $110.00


View of the Variety Theatre from the balcony.

Variety Theatre – Co-hosted with Matthew Christopher of Abandoned America

Location:  Cleveland, Ohio


TBA 2023

The Theatre: The Variety Theatre in Cleveland, Ohio, originally opened on November 24, 1927 in the Jefferson neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio. It operated on the Variety Amusement Company circuit before being sold to Warner Brothers in 1929. Warner Brothers ran the theater until 1954 when it was sold to Wargo Realty for $500,000, one of the largest real estate sales involving a theater since the great depression. The Variety was last used as a wrestling gym called the Cleveland Wrestleplex before closing for good in the late 1980s.

Cost: $125.00


Grand Theatre Steubenville, OH

Grand Theatre Workshop

Location: Steubenville, Ohio


Currently Under Construction

The Theatre: The Grand Theatre building was built in 1885 by German immigrant Jacob Griesinger, Sr. in Steubenville, Ohio.  It originally housed a saloon, restaurant and livery stables. In 1924, the building was taken over by Charles, Edward, Howard and William Biggio. The four brothers had the stables torn down and constructed the Grand Theatre auditorium in its place. In 2010, the theater was purchased by the Grand Theatre Restoration Project, who plan to restore and renovate the theater into a performing arts center and museum. For more information, visit:

Cost: $50.00


Auditorium, Everett Square Theatre – Boston, MA.

Everett Square Theatre

Location: Boston, MA



The Theatre: The Everett Square Theatre opened in 1915 in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts. It was designed by Boston architect Harry M. Ramsay for the Littlefield Trust, the original owner of the theater. For more information visit:

Cost: $50.00


View from the upper balcony of the Sorg Opera House.

Sorg Opera House

Location: Middletown, Ohio


TBA 2023

The Theatre: The Sorg Opera House in Middletown, Ohio originally opened in the 1890s. It began showing early forms of motion pictures in 1901, and switched to films full time in the late 1920s. It is currently owned by the SORG (Sorg Opera Revitalization Group), who have performed much-needed renovations on parts of the theater.

Cost: $75.00


10 thoughts on “Workshops

  1. Pingback: Photo Workshops 2017

  2. Pingback: Upcoming Events & Workshops – After the Final Curtain

  3. Hi Matt, Any workshops planned in late September New York way? I’m here in the Uk and visiting friends in NY. I work in costume for theatre with an interest in derelict/ empty buildings having spent many years exploring them and living in them. I love that you talk about the history of each building and it saddens me that they are not valued as part of film and theatre history.
    thank you for sharing your passion.

    • Janet – Not in New York City, but I may have one in Upstate New York around then. Subscribe to my mailing list (at the upper right hand side of the page) and you’ll be one of the first to know.

  4. Hi Matt, I’m very interested in a tour of the Waterbury Poli Theater. Does that one ever come up as an option?

  5. Good morning,

    I’m in the L.A. area, would be very interested in touring the old Pantages, the Roxie or any of the derelict theaters in downtown.


    • Hi Ian,

      I did an LA Workshop series back in 2017. If there’s enough interest I’d be happy to do another one, but I currently do not have plans for one.


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