Empire Theatre

Thames Street and Gidley Street,
Newport, RI 02840

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Additional Info

Previous Names: Theatre Comique

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Empire Theatre

Opened as the Theatre Comique, it was renamed Empire Theatre in 1908.

Contributed by Gerald A. DeLuca

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 24, 2005 at 8:58 pm

Newport’s Three Moving Picture Houses.
That was the heading of an October 1908 article clipped from an unidentified newspaper. The Star, Bijou, and Empire were those three undoubtedly smallish movie houses. Tiny photos of the three theatres appeared at the head of the article which was saved in a Newport resident’s personal scrapbook, now at the Newport Historical Society. The article does not go on to describe the theatres pictured, but instead talks about the motion picture medium itself and how it works. Movies were still a novelty then, but one that was capturing people’s attention here as everywhere. It was enough to cause three theatres to pop up in a short span of time and dedicated to presenting them in the city-by-the-sea. The Lafayette/Strand and the Opera House were not movie theatres, and the Colonial, a movie and vaudeville house, would not open until 1911. The Paramount, Newport’s grandest and most beautiful movie theatre, would not open until 1929. A perusal of the Newport Daily News of the period did not show any ads for these theatres' programs. Business may have been drummed up through printed flyers or may have relied heavily on walk-by interest.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 25, 2005 at 2:04 am

I was unable to find an address for this “lost” theatre in any city directories and would appreciate help on that.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on February 13, 2018 at 11:01 am

The location of this theatre was Thames Street at the corner of Gidley Street. It had previously been called the Theatre Comique until 1908.

A4arch on June 11, 2020 at 3:42 pm

Gerry: Newport Life has asked me to write an article on the lost theaters of Newport County. Please call me at 401-849-5100 if you would be will to give a short interview. —Ross

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