Orpheum Theatre (New Bedford, Massachusetts)
|La Salle Francs Tireurs|
Current picture of outside of theatre
|Address||1005 Water Street
|Type||Performing Arts Center|
|Architect||Louis E. Destremps|
The Orpheum Theater is an old theatre and movie house located at 1005 Water Street in New Bedford, Massachusetts USA, originally named the Majestic Opera House. The building opened on April 15, 1912 (the same day the Titanic sank). Under the ownership of The French Sharpshooter’s Club of New Bedford, the building had been open for nearly fifty years and it contained an armored shooting range and ballroom. and it had helped train troops for World War I and World War II. The club leased the theatre to the Orpheum Circuit of Boston. It not only had vaudeville shows, but once that was in decline, the Orpheums switched to movies. This Orpheum theatre is believed to be the second oldest (it was built a year after the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles).
When the theatre opened it seated 1,500 people. The theatre closed in 1958-59, and was only opened for special events. The sharpshooters club sold it in 1962, and it was used as storage by a tobacco company. The back of the theatre currently houses a supermarket, but the rest of the space is still empty. The building is currently privately owned.
There are plans by Orph Inc, a non-profit company, to bring back the theatre and revitalize New Bedford economy. Their mission statement says they are out to "create and operate a multi-cultural arts facility, to promote arts, culture, diversity and education, to hold, organize and promote events for public participation; to manage the theater to the benefit of its stated purpose, and to do any and all acts permitted by a corporation organized under Chapter 180 of the General Laws of Massachusetts, 2004".
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