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Historical photo of the Majestic theater with sign that reads: "Emerson College: Theatre soon." The Majestic Theatre first opened its doors in 1903. The building was designed by John Galen Howard and the interior shows off gloriously ornate Beaux-Arts architectural style. In 1955, the theater was sold to Sack Cinemas and served as the Saxon movie theater for nearly 30 years. You can still see the old Saxon vertical sign in this photo. By the time it was purchased by Emerson College in 1983, the theater had fallen into considerable disrepair. Emerson spent 20 years restoring the Majestic to its former glory and reopened the Cutler Majestic Theatre at Emerson College in May 2003.

Logo for Arts Emerson, all caps, yellow and white text with a purple graphic elements on a black background. Founded in 2010 by Rob Orchard, ArtsEmerson's programs include culturally enriching theatre, film and music.


The Paramount theater's vertical sign and marquee are brightly lit on the art deco building. On the building to the right of the theater, color lights behind arched windows form an image of the American flag. In 2010, the Paramount Theatre re-opened for the first time in 34 years. Built in 1932, the Paramount Theatre was a one of Boston's great movie palaces. It closed in 1976, and was designated a Boston landmark in 1984. Emerson acquired the Paramount in 2005 and hired Elkus Manfredi Architects to restore and re-imagine this historic art deco gem. It reopened in 2010 as the Paramount Center, which contains the main theatre as well as a black box theater, film screening room, rehearsal studios, practice rooms, sound stage, scene shop, classrooms and offices for faculty and staff. ArtsEmerson programed film, theatre and film events at the Paramount, contributing to the city’s rich cultural offerings.

Two stacked photos of The Paramount Theatre's main house, before and after renovation. The land on which the Paramount stands has a history of earlier performance spaces dating back to 1836. Former spaces include the Melodeon, Gaiety, and Bijou. The Paramount Theatre first opened its doors on February 25, 1932 as one of the premiere art deco movie palaces built by Paramount Studios, but it closed in 1976 and fell into disrepair. Emerson purchased the building in 2005. Architects from the firm Elkus Manfredi worked with Evergreene Architectural Arts to replicate the paint and decorative motifs throughout the theatre and restore it to its original appearance. Emerson College reopened the Paramount Theatre to the public in March 2010. Today, the Paramount Center includes the adjoining "arcade" building providing theater space, film screening room, rehearsal rooms, classrooms, and a dormitory. Info sources: Boston Globe (3/3/2010);; (Paramount Mainstage).

2000 - 2015

Architect's rendering of the 2-story Chickering Hall building with the caption, Our New Home. The first floor is defined by a series of five arches. The drawing includes a horse-drawn carriage on the street. In 1901, the College moved to Chickering Hall, 239 Huntington Ave, where it would stay for only ten years. The Emerson community welcomed the move to this Back Bay location near Symphony Hall. The decision to relocate from the College’s previous address was due in large part to safety concerns. Emerson’s Odd Fellows Hall in the South End was troubled with high rates of crime. From A Century of Eloquence: “The college rented the entire second floor of Chickering Hall which provided nine spacious, well lighted and ventilated classrooms, two of which were small lecture halls (40x22ft), each complete with a platform. After 1903, a portrait of Dr. Emerson, presented by the graduating class of that year, hung in the corridor. Six marble stairways with wrought-iron balustrades led to the second floor. The first floor held the library and the school’s administrative offices, and morning lectures were held in the “superb hall on the first floor, which seated 800.” During this period, Boston caterer D. M. Shooshan’s Ladies and Gent’s Cafe also occupied space on the first floor of Chickering Hall at the address 241-243. An ad in the Emerson College Magazine [Vol. 19] described it as a “First-class restaurant, also a choice line of confectionery. Ice cream and fancy baking of all kinds.” Chickering Hall was owned by piano manufacturing company, Chickering & Sons. It was designed by architectural firm Peabody & Stearns for use as an 800-seat concert venue. After Emerson’s departure the hall was expanded and re-opened in 1912 as the 1,600-seat vaudeville and film venue named St. James Theatre, operated by Marcus. In the 1920s, it become a popular stock company stage, and in the 1930s it was renamed the Uptown Theatre, operating as a movie theatre and catering to college students with second-run movies. The building was demolished in 1963.


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