Boston Theater District

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Washington Street Theatre District
Washington Street Theatre District.jpg
Boston Theater District is located in Boston
Boston Theater District
Boston Theater District is located in Massachusetts
Boston Theater District
Boston Theater District is located in the United States
Boston Theater District
LocationBoston, Massachusetts
Coordinates42°21′14″N 71°3′46″W / 42.35389°N 71.06278°W / 42.35389; -71.06278Coordinates: 42°21′14″N 71°3′46″W / 42.35389°N 71.06278°W / 42.35389; -71.06278
Architectural styleLate Gothic Revival, Italianate, Other
NRHP reference #79000370[1]
Added to NRHPMarch 19, 1979

The Boston Theater District is the center of Boston's theater scene.[2] Many of its theaters are on Washington Street, Tremont Street, Boylston Street, and Huntington Avenue.[3][4][5]


Plays were banned in Boston by the Puritans until 1792.[5][6] Boston's first theater opened in 1793.[7][8] In 1900, the Boston Theater District had 31 theaters, with 50,000 seats.[6] In the 1940s, the city had over 50 theaters.[2] Since the 1970s, developers have renovated old theaters.[2]


Suffolk University bought the Modern Theater in 2008. It has since reopened and hosts a variety of performances.[9] For their efforts, Suffolk won a Preservation Honor Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 2011.[10]

Emerson College now utilizes the Paramount Theater as "a first-of-its-kind mixed-use residential, academic, and performance venue." [11]

Washington Street Theatre District[edit]

The Washington Street Theatre District, consisting of seven buildings on the west side of Washington Street (numbers 511-559), was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.[1] Buildings in the district include the Boston Opera House, built on the site of the city's second theater. Its entrance hall is the city's only surviving work of noted theater designer Thomas W. Lamb. Also in the district are the 1932 Paramount Theatre and the Modern Theatre. These theaters and their predecessors have displayed the gamut of theatrical entertainment across more than two centuries, including vaudeville, comedy, and film.[12]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b National Park Service (January 23, 2007). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  2. ^ a b c Mara Vorhees (2009). Boston 4. Lonely Planet. Retrieved March 8, 2013.
  3. ^ Patricia Harris; David Lyon (2004). Insiders Guide Off the Beaten Path: Boston: A Guide to Unique Places. Globe Pequot. Retrieved March 8, 2013.
  4. ^ Travel Boston – City Guide and Maps. MobileReference. 2007. Retrieved March 8, 2013.
  5. ^ a b Patricia Harris; Anna Mundow; David Lyon; Lisa Oppenheimer (2003). Compass American Guides: Massachusetts, 1st Edition. Random House. Retrieved March 8, 2013.
  6. ^ a b Greg Letterman; Katherine Letterman (2001). Walking Boston. Globe Pequot. Retrieved March 8, 2013.
  7. ^ David Lyon; Patricia Harris (2011). DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Boston. Penguin. Retrieved March 8, 2013.
  8. ^ Tom Bross; Patricia Harris; David Lyon (2007). Boston. Penguin. Retrieved March 8, 2013.
  9. ^ Theater District Revival Continues With The Modern
  10. ^ University Wins National Preservation Award Archived October 15, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ The Paramount Center
  12. ^ "NRHP nomination for Washington Street Theatre District". National Archive. Retrieved November 18, 2017.

External links[edit]