Tremont Theatre

Tremont at Avery / Boston

Several Boston playhouses were named Tremont Theatre (built in 1827, 1889 and 1908, respectively), but the major one represented in the Athenĉum's playbill collection is the Tremont built in 1889 by J.B. McElfatrick and Sons, and located on Tremont Street at the corner of Avery. Extremely successful and fashionable in the 1890s, this theater is famous for hosting the great Sarah Bernhardt, who enraptured Bostonians in 1891 with her performance of La Tosca.

When D.W. Griffith's Birth of a Nation opened at the Tremont in 1915, a riot broke out. Until that time, motion pictures had been a relatively minor entertainment medium, but Griffith's pioneering, albeit admittedly racist epic, inaugurated a new era for films and film-making. Twelve years later, the first sound film, The Jazz Singer, was also seen here. One then can then say that the Tremont Theatre exemplified the cultural transitions of an era when many "legitimate" stage theaters were either razed or converted into movie houses featuring the new entertainment of choice. (See also "Jane English's New Tremont Theatre")


Programs available from this theatre:

  • The Middleman (1892)
  • The Rogue's Comedy (1896)

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