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Boston, MA: Stuart Street Playhouse Brings Art Cinema Back to Boston

Posted on Thursday, October 29th, 2009 1:55 PM by Scott Jentsch

The Stuart Street Playhouse in Boston, Massachusetts will be open to the public tomorrow, October 30, 2009, marking the first time it's shown movies in many years.

According to the Cinema Treasures web site, the theater opened as a twin in 1971 and it showed its last movie in 1996. Since that time, it has had double duty as a live performance theater in one of the former screens and an indoor golf school in the other.

Only one of the screens will be used for movies, but it marks an important milestone for downtown Boston, which has been missing an art house cinema. The first movies that the theater will be playing are Paris and The September Issue, both of which are receiving limited distribution.

The Boston Globe has an article on boston.com about the re-opening of the theater:

“I want to make this into a first-run independent and foreign film theater,’’ says new proprietor David Bramante of the 435-seat space. “It’s Boston - we should have one.’’

We used to have much more than one. Well over a dozen movie houses of all kinds - including the Stuart Street’s original tenant, the Sack 57 twin screen - used to thrive within the city’s limits. Now there exist only two commercial picture palaces, both of them corporate googolplexes: The AMC Loews Boston Common with its 19 screens and the Regal Fenway Stadium with 13.

The comments on that article seem mostly positive, so hopefully this is something that the people of Boston will embrace. The two closest multiplex theaters, the AMC Loews Boston Common 19 and Regal Fenway 13 have 32 screens between them, they are only playing 16 movies. While the AMC does run some art-house movies under its AMC Select moniker, I think the audience for these types of movies might like a more intimate setting than the usual chaos of a multiplex.

Will you attend this theater? Do you think a single-screen art house can survive in a multiplex world? Leave your comments below!



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