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Regent Theater

Regent Theater

First Opened: February 1914

Former Names: National Theater, Gore’s National, Regent No. 1

Website: www.theregenttheater.com Open website in new window

Telephone: (323) 284-5727 Call (323) 284-5727

Address: 448 South Main St, Los Angeles, CA 90013 Show address in Google Maps (new window)

Overview

The Regent Theater is a small 600-seat theatre on downtown L.A.’s Main St. Originally opened as the National Theater, the first theatre built on this site around 1910 had a capacity of just 350. It was rebuilt and opened in February 1914, retaining the National name but with a boosted capacity of 600. The theatre was renamed The Regent around 1917.

The theatre’s proscenium, preserved from its 1914 appearance
The theatre’s proscenium, preserved from its 1914 appearance

In the early 1910s Main St boasted a busy theatre scene with around 20 small theatres vying for competition. The then National Theater was deemed too small and so was rebuilt on a larger scale, becoming the largest theatre on Main St by capacity when the new building opened with 600 seats in February 1914.

By the 1920s patrons were migrating over to the new, more spacious and luxurious movie palaces being built on South Broadway. The theatres on Main St declined and began catering to different audiences, converting to alternative uses or simply shuttering. The Regent changed from being a first-run house to a second-run house, then in the 1940s underwent a “rebirth” to modernize it with a sleek new façade and marquee.

The theatre’s “bull nose” marquee dates from the 1940s
The theatre’s “bull nose” marquee dates from the 1940s

Over the course of the years the Regent became a grindhouse pumping out B-movies, and toward the end of the 20th Century became an all-night adult movie venue. It ultimately closed as a film house in 2000. Developer Tom Gilmore acquired the lease in 2006 and the space was occasionally used as an art and performance venue by a variety of promoters.

In 2012 the theatre was taken over by long-time music promoter Mitchell Frank, and the Regent reopened in November 2014 as a multipurpose live entertainment venue with capacity for 1,100. Although the Orchestra seats have been removed the raked floor remains in place, as does much of the original auditorium decoration including the fine proscenium arch. Sadly the gothic-inspired ceiling was too fragile to be preserved.

In May 2019 it was announced that Live Nation Link opens in new window had acquired Spaceland Presents Link opens in new window, “longtime staple of creative programming and emerging music in Los Angeles”, and their LA-based venues including the Regent Theater. Live Nation already operate several venues in the LA metro area including The Wiltern.

Movie, TV & Music Video Appearances

Movies

Television

How do I visit the Regent Theater?

The Regent Theatre doesn’t currently offer tours (as of July 2017) so check out the theatre’s website Link opens in new window for events playing at the Regent – it’s a popular and busy venue.

You can also get into the Regent by going along to the Great Rock and Roll Flea Market Link opens in new window which usually takes place on the first Sunday of each month from 11am to 4pm.

Further Reading

Online

Books

Historic Photos & Documents

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Photos of the Regent Theater

Jump to Photo Section:

  1. Interior
  2. Exterior
Interior

Originally opened as the National Theater around 1910 with a capacity of 350, the theatre was rebuilt and reopened in February 1914 as one of the largest theatres on Main St in downtown Los Angeles.

Exterior

The theatre’s current marquee dates from the effort to modernize it in the 1940s with a sleek new appearance.



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