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This website celebrates and promotes historic and culturally significant theatres from across the world.
Our intent is to document these buildings of public storytelling and performance primarily through photography, capturing significant details from both sides of the curtain.
Our aim is to educate and engage current and future generations on the importance of theatre and the arts, and the importance of preserving the significant buildings our society has created for the purpose of public storytelling. To this end, our scope includes movie theatres of significant cultural or historic merit.
We are always on the lookout for additional historic or culturally significant theatres to feature on our website and social media channels. Please get in touch for collaborations or photoshoots.
You may also wish to check out more about the story behind Historic Theatre Photos and its author Mike Hume, or Mike’s extensive theatre research projects.
Click here to check out special events happening at theatres featured on our website.
Click here to see Historic Theatre Photos in mainstream media features.
Click here for information on the architects behind the theatres featured on our website.
Click here to see the services we offer such as public speaking, tours, and consultation.
Click here to read more about Mike’s research on historic and culturally-significant theatres.
Click here for a sneak peek at the theatres we’re working on adding to our website.
For our purposes the Southwest is defined as the states of Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, and Colorado. The majority of the largest population centers (Phoenix & Tucson in Arizona, Albuquerque NM, Salt Lake City UT, and Denver CO) have retained at least some of their historic theatres, although some have not – such as Las Vegas.
California has a wide range of theatres ranging from the last remaining theatre built for the Orpheum vaudeville circuit, to modern-day performing arts centers rivaling the Lincoln Center in New York. Outside of Los Angeles, California boasts a large number of historic theatres and movies theatres.
Canada is home to many varied theatres, the largest concentration of which are in Toronto, which also has the only operating double-decker theatre in the world. Popular regional theatre centers include Vancouver, Montreal, and London. Canada is home to both historic legitimate theatres and movie palaces.
Chicago is home to many historic theatres and boasts a thriving “Broadway in Chicago” production company, formed by the Nederlander Organization in 2000, which programs touring Broadway productions in the city. Until recently, Chicago was home to the only resident production of “Hamilton” in the US outside of New York, which ran from October 2016 to early 2020.
Florida – the Sunshine State – is not normally associated with historic theatres, or indeed significant historic architecture, however there are a number of significant theatres dotted around the state generally located in the major population centers of Miami, Tampa, Jacksonville, and Orlando.
Downtown Los Angeles was the site of LA’s first two theatre districts, the first being on Main St and the second on Broadway, the second being said to pre-date New York’s Broadway theatre district. With 12 movie theatres along a six-block stretch, LA’s Broadway is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the largest remaining concentration of movie theatres in the United States.
Outside of the historic Broadway and Hollywood theatre districts, the Los Angeles metropolitan area and adjoining counties have an abundance of theatres, and more than their fair share of neighborhood single-screen movie theatres.
The Hollywood theatre district of Los Angeles came about as a result of booming development in the area during the 1910s and 1920s. Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre was the site of the first Hollywood movie premiere and was soon followed by Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, currently home to the largest number of movie premieres in the world.
New York’s Broadway theatre district, nicknamed the “Great White Way”, has been entertaining audiences since the early 1900s. There are currently 41 “official” Broadway theatres alongside countless others ranging from small off-Broadway houses, the Lincoln Center, and large spaces such as Carnegie Hall and Radio City Music Hall.
Ohio is located in the Midwestern region of the United States, its capital being Columbus. Although there are a number of historic theatres in Columbus, Ohio is also home to Playhouse Square in the northeastern Ohio city of Cleveland, which is the largest performing arts center in the US outside of New York City.
The San Francisco Bay Area, often referred to in the United States as simply the Bay Area, is home to a great many theatres ranging from numerous single-screen neighborhood movie theatres to opera houses and grand movie palaces.
Texas is the second-largest US state by both area and population. It boasts the fourth largest city in the US (Houston) and the second most populous state capital (Austin). Accordingly, Texas has numerous theatres ranging from grand opera houses through mid-size theatres and small community playhouses.
London is home to the famous West End theatre district, the largest concentration of theatres in the world, and is on a par with New York’s Broadway for its diverse range and high quality of productions.
The UK is home to hundreds of historic theatres including the oldest continually operating theatre in the English-speaking world. Music Halls and Cinemas of particular interest/merit are also included. London theatres are covered in a separate category.
Photographs copyright © 2002-2023 Mike Hume / Historic Theatre Photos unless otherwise noted.
Text copyright © 2017-2023 Mike Hume / Historic Theatre Photos.
For photograph licensing and/or re-use contact me here .
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