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Egyptian-style theatres are based on the traditional and historic design elements of Ancient Egypt.
The first Egyptian Theatre to be constructed in the US – which inspired many of the identically-named theatres that followed it – was Grauman's Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, California. For several years, Hollywood developer Charles E. Toberman attempted to convince Sid Grauman to locate in Hollywood. During a meeting, Sid told Mr. Toberman of his desire to build a theatre of Egyptian design. Mr. Toberman then secured a piece of property on Hollywood Boulevard, just east of McCadden Place. The architectural firm of Meyer & Holler were hired to design the theatre. The result was Grauman's Egyptian Theatre with a seating of 1770. The approach to the theatre was through a courtyard. Inside, the stage was flanked by carved columns and models of the Sphinx. The theatre was opened on October 19, 1922 with the grand premiere of "Robin Hood" starring Douglas Fairbanks.
The Eldorado Theatre located in Eldorado Amusement Park, Weehawken, New Jersey opened in 1891 and featured 'Egypt Through Centuries' each evening. The creators of the park, Palisades Amusement and Exhibition Company, published a book titled "Egypt Through the Centuries" in 1892.
Many of the other theatres that copied Grauman's Egyptian Theatre were part of the wave of Egyptian revival architecture that occurred after the November 1922 discovery of King Tut's tomb by Howard Carter.
Unlike the many theatres that followed in its wake, Grauman's Egyptian Theatre was designed, built, named and opened before the 1922 discovery of King Tut's tomb. The news of the tomb's discovery reached the US a few weeks after the theatre opened.
Early in the 20th century, it is estimated that up to 100 of these theatre types were constructed across the US. Many of them no longer exist, but there are many fine examples of this style still in use today. Conrad Schmitt Studios has played a big part in the restoration of these atmospheric theatres, including Egyptian Theatres in Ogden, Utah, Boise, Idaho, Delta, Colorado, and DeKalb, Illinois.
Theatres in this style
Sorted by date of first opening.
- Grauman's Egyptian Theatre, Hollywood, California, 1922
- Bush Egyptian Theatre, San Diego, California, 1923
- Peery's Egyptian Theatre, Ogden, Utah, 1924
- Egyptian Theatre, Coos Bay, Oregon, 1925
- Mary G. Steiner Egyptian Theatre, Park City, Utah, 1926
- Bala Theater, Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania, 1926
- The Egyptian Theatre, Boise, Idaho, 1927
- Empress Theatre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, 1927
- Egyptian Theatre, Delta, Colorado, 1928
- Egyptian Theatre, DeKalb, Illinois, 1929
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