Theatre Project

Note –  8/16/16:  This research was initially completed in 2006 as part of a Film History class taught by Jeff Klenotic at UNH Manchester.  Each student was charged with researching movie theatres of a specific era in a town of their choice.  I chose to research theatres in Manchester, NH from 1933-1948.  It’s very possible that more recent research has proven some of what I had written to be incorrect, or that some of the theatres that were still standing have since been torn down (please leave a comment if this is the case!).  Also, upon reading these pages again, I’d like to apologize for my spelling and grammar.  2007-era Chris apparently needed an editor. 

Initially these pages were published at unbreakablecomb.net, but I accidentally let the domain expire.  In an act of internet responsibility, i’ve decided to resurrect them here.  Over the years i’ve continued to receive e-mails and comments about the theatres. It’s been interesting hearing from all of you and I hope the submissions continue.  

I originally started doing my research on theatre exhibition in Manchester with focus on the ‘golden-age’, 1933-1948. What I found was that Manchester was home to a variety of different theatres who catered to a variety of different theatre-goers. I’d already heard of some of Manchester more famous movie houses, namely the Palace and the State, and it seemed logical to place the most focus on them. The only other theatre I knew anything about was the Empire. In the early 90’s I lived on Milton Street, just up the hill from Massabesic Street. I was far too young to have gone to see a picture at the Empire, but I recall my brother and sister going there occasionally. They both told me that during the early 90’s they would generally play ‘cult’ movies like Rocky Horror Picture Show, and that they would also have concerts there. It struck me as interesting that while theatres like the State had been torn down, and the Palace stopped showing movies altogether, that a theatre like the Empire could continue showing pictures into the 90’s.

While I did superficial research on all the theatres in Manchester from 1933 to 1948, I explicitly set my focus on three theatres that shared one common thread. The Globe, Empire and Rex theatres were all second run theatres, that were at one point or another managed by a man named Lucien Descoteaux. While the theatres he ran weren’t the most prolific, he himself seemed to be a sort of king of the lower end.

I created a map of all the theatres that existed during this time period. Click on a map marker to view more information about the theatre.  You can also go to a page with more information and photos:

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