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Historic Theatre Photography

This website is a gathering place for all the photos and information I have pulled together on the various theatres and movie palaces I've been lucky enough to visit and/or work in. It's not meant to replace the great work done by others with similar websites, rather it focuses on my own photography and presents that along with the information I have about each theatre.

I hope you find this website interesting, and if you have a theatre you'd like me to photograph I'd love for you to get in touch.



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Chicago

Auditorium Theatre, Chicago

Completed in 1889, the Auditorium Theatre is part of a larger building complex in downtown Chicago called the Auditorium Building. The architects, Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan, incorporated several modern features into the 3,901 seat theatre, an example being the 3,500 bare carbon filament lamps adorning the multiple levels of the auditorium.

Chicago Theatre

The Chicago Theatre was completed in 1921 as the flagship theatre of the Balaban & Katz empire, built primarily as a movie palace but with stage facilities included. Architects Cornelius W. Rapp and George L. Rapp designed the theatre in the Neo-Baroque French-revival style, the most obvious nod being the theatre’s 6-storey façade echoing Paris’s Arc de Triomphe. The massive 7-storey movie palace takes up half a city block and seats 3,600 (originally 3,880).

PrivateBank Theatre, Chicago

Opened as the Majestic Theatre in 1906 as part of the multi-use Majestic Building, the theatre occupying lower floors and the Majestic Hotel occupying upper levels. Since 1991 the theatre has been owned by the Nederlander Organization; it is currently operated by Broadway in Chicago.



Los Angeles: Downtown

Globe Theatre, Los Angeles

The Globe Theatre was built in 1913 as the Morosco Theatre, designed for full-scale productions at a time when theatres were being built solely to house vaudeville. The theatre was part of a larger office tower called the Garland Building, designed by Morgan, Walls & Morgan. The theatre interior was designed by Alfred F. Rosenheim.

Los Angeles Music Center

The Los Angeles Music Center is one of the largest performing arts centers in the US and the west coast equivalent of New York’s Lincoln Center. It is home to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (opera house), the Ahmanson Theatre (large traditional proscenium arch theatre), the Mark Taper Forum (180-degree thrust stage) and the Walt Disney Concert Hall. The complex was designed by Welton Becket and completed in 1967, with the addition of the Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall in 2003.

Los Angeles Theatre

Widely acknowledged as Los Angeles' most lavish theatre, construction of this 2,000 seat movie palace took only 6 months and was completed in 1931. Owing to the Great Depression it was the last large theatre of its time to be built in Los Angeles. The stunning French Baroque interior heralds a particularly grand entrance lobby, which is modeled on the Palace of Versailles’ Hall of Mirrors in France.

The Mayan, Los Angeles

The Mayan theatre in downtown Los Angeles is a stunning example of the 1920s fascination with revival-style theatre architecture, in this case Mayan revival. The Mayan opened its doors in 1927 as a legitimate theatre; it is now used as a nightclub and events space. Between times it has showcased movies, blue movies, and has been the scene of many movie locations.

Million Dollar Theatre, Los Angeles

The Million Dollar was Sid Grauman’s first major movie theatre when it opened in February 1918. It became known as the Million Dollar theatre following hype over its price tag and officially changed its name in 1922. It was the first movie theatre to break with design convention and used fantasy themes throughout. Despite being specifically designed as a movie theatre, full stage facilities were included.

Orpheum Theatre, Los Angeles

The Orpheum theatre opened in 1926 as the fourth and final Los Angeles venue for the Orpheum circuit, and the second Orpheum theatre to be built on Broadway in downtown LA. The theatre is home to a Mighty Wurlitzer organ which is still in service today. Architect G. Albert Lansburgh designed the theatre and it remains one of his most elaborate examples, including plush fittings throughout the theatre and lobbies.

Palace Theatre, Los Angeles

The Palace Theatre was built as a vaudeville house and opened in June 1911 as The Orpheum Theatre. Designed by G. Albert Langsburgh (assisted by Robert Brown Young) in a French Renaissance style, it is the oldest remaining theatre from the original Orpheum vaudeville circuit. The Palace played host to vaudeville stars such as Al Jolson, Harry Houdini, Sarah Bernhardt and the Marx brothers.

Regent Theatre, Los Angeles

The Regent Theatre is a small 600-seater theatre on Downtown LA’s Main St. Originally the National Theatre, the first theatre built on this site around 1910 had a capacity of just 350. It was rebuilt in 1914, retaining the National name but boasting a capacity of 600. The theatre was renamed The Regent around 1917.

State Theatre, Los Angeles

The State Theatre opened as Loew’s State Theatre in November 1921 and was their west coast showcase movie theatre, later becoming the home for first-run MGM movies in Downtown LA. It is the largest theatre on Broadway by audience capacity (originally 2,450, now 2,387).

Theatre at Ace Hotel, Los Angeles

The Theatre at Ace Hotel, formerly known as the United Artists Theatre, opened in 1927 as the flagship for United Artists’ west coast operations. Starting in 2012 the surrounding office building was converted into the Ace Hotel and the theatre was renovated and re-opened in 2014 as a live entertainment and special events venue.

Tower Theatre, Los Angeles

The Tower Theatre was the first theatre designed by architect S Charles Lee, one of the most prolific and distinguished movie theatre designers of his time on the US West Coast. Lee’s design for The Tower replaced the 650-seat Garrick Theatre and is notable for fitting a 1,000-seat auditorium, plus street-level retail stores, into a lot measuring just 50ft by 150ft.



Los Angeles: Hollywood

TCL Chinese Theatre, Los Angeles

The 1927 TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood was Sid Grauman’s second Hollywood movie palace following the opening of his Egyptian Theatre in 1922, just down the street on Hollywood Boulevard. The Chinese Theatre has likely hosted the largest number of movie premieres of any venue in the world, having been a favorite since its hosting of Cecil B. DeMille’s “The King Of Kings” in May 1927.

Egyptian Theatre, Los Angeles

Built in the early 1920s by Sid Grauman, this movie palace was the site of the first-ever Hollywood movie premiere when it showcased “Robin Hood” in October 1922. The theatre was designed by architect firm Meyer & Holler and was originally planned to be hispanic in nature – hence the Spanish-style roof tiles above the exterior entrance – however was restyled in Revival-Egyptian likely due to public fascination with Egyptian archeology typified by Howard Carter in 1922.

Pantages Theatre, Los Angeles

The Pantages was the United States’ first Art Deco theatre, completed in June 1930. No expense was spared on its opulent interior. For a time the theatre was owned by Howard Hughes who maintained his personal offices above the theatre. It is now owned and managed by the Nederlander Organization and was extensively refurbished 1999-2000. The theatre now brings Broadway hits to the Los Angeles and wider Southern California audiences.

Ricardo Montalban Theatre, Los Angeles

The Montalban opened in January 1927 as The Wilkes Brothers Vine Street Theatre and the first legitimate Broadway-style theatre in Hollywood. The early 1930s saw it run as a cinema for a few years before becoming the CBS Radio Playhouse – and home of the Al Jolson show – in 1936.



Los Angeles: LA County

Royce Hall, Los Angeles

Royce Hall is one of the four original buildings on UCLA’s campus in Westwood, and its twin-towered façade has come to represent the defining image of UCLA. Designed by local architectural firm Allison and Allison it was completed in 1929 as the main hall, grand classroom and principle meeting place for the university. It is now a performing arts venue with capacity of over 1,800.

San Gabriel Mission Playhouse

The San Gabriel Mission Playhouse sits beside the historic San Gabriel Mission in Los Angeles County California. The theatre was constructed between 1923 and 1927 for “The Mission Play”, a 3-hour pageant-style production conceived to illustrate the establishment of the California missions. The theatre currently seats 1,387 on two levels and its architecture reflects Spanish, Native-American and Californian culture. The theatre houses a fully-restored Wurlitzer Organ.

Warner Grand, San Pedro

The Warner Grand was opened in January 1931 as a movie palace for Warner Bros. Architect B. Marcus Priteca, noted for the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood, and interior designer Anthony Heinsbergen were contracted to design and build three theatres for Warner Bros in the popular Art Deco style, of which the Warner Grand is the best surviving example.

The Wiltern, Los Angeles

The 1931 Wiltern Theatre is a stunning example of Art Deco architecture; its name derives from the intersection it’s located on: WILshire & WesTERN. The theatre was originally intended to be a vaudeville house and was designed by Stiles O. Clements with an interior by G. Albert Lansburgh. Originally built with seating for 2,344, the theatre was modified in 2002 to remove the 1,200 Orchestra level seats so as to create a flexible layout catering for temporary seating and standing-room configurations. The theatre is currently operated by Live Nation.



United Kingdom

Bristol Hippodrome

The Bristol Hippodrome was designed by Frank Matcham, a prolific theatre designer in the UK, and opened on 16 December 1912. At its opening the theatre featured a huge water tank at the front of the stage which could be filled with 100,000 gallons (450,000 litres) of water, as well as an opening central dome in the auditorium to allow for heat dissipation.

King’s Theatre, Edinburgh

The 1906 King’s Theatre was designed by James Davidson (exterior) and J D Swanston (interior), originally as a rival to Edinburgh’s Lyceum Theatre, however in 1928 merged into the UK theatre empire belonging to Howard & Wyndham. The theatre is locally known as “The Grand Old Lady Of Leven Street”.




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