Atlas Performing Arts Center

1333 H Street NE,
Washington, DC 20002

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Atlas Performing Arts Center (Official)

Additional Info

Previously operated by: K-B Theatres

Architects: John J. Zink

Functions: Performing Arts

Styles: Streamline Moderne

Previous Names: Atlas Theater

Phone Numbers: Box Office: 202.399.7993

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Atlas Performing Arts Center

Opened on 31st August 1938 with Mickey Rooney in “Love Finds Andy Hardy”. It was designed by architect John Zink in an Art Moderne style. The Atlas Theater seated nearly 1,000 patrons, with all seating on one floor and in its heyday it combined movies with live performances for almost four decades.

In 1968, riots hit this area of the city and H Street has still never fully recovered. The area’s plunging fortunes eventually took the once popular theater down with it, and the Atlas closed in August 1976.

After purchasing the theater in 1985, the H Street Community Development Corp. renovated its famous Art Moderne facade in 1989 and sought a new tenant for the building.

In 1993 a new group emerged to restore, renovate, and reopen the Atlas Theater. In May 2002, the Sprenger-Lang Foundation put $450,000 down of the $1.2 million asking price for the shuttered movie house.

The purchase from the H Street Community Development Corporation, is the first step in a plan to turn the theater into a two-auditorium performing and community arts center.

Plans for the "Atlas Performing Arts Center" called for a roughly $12 million renovation effort that would create two different theater spaces and preserve the original elegance of the facade.

With the new plans underway, the future of the Atlas looks bright and it reopened in November 2006.

Contributed by Cinema Treasures

Recent comments (view all 11 comments)

BeltwayBrian on May 25, 2005 at 12:51 pm

Is this bad-boy open again?

dwightyoung on January 11, 2006 at 11:26 am

The facade, blade sign and marquee have been beautifully restored. The neon really brightens up that stretch of H Street, which is beginning to make a comeback from decades of disinvestment and abandonment.

EcRocker on February 7, 2006 at 8:01 pm

I didn’t know they lt up the blade considering the present state the building is in. I have been driving on H street the last few days. There is a crane set up towards the back and the building sits exposed to the eliments. It is sad to see that the rest of the area is so run down.

“The work is proceeding in every part of the site now.” The next milestone will be replacing the roof on the old movie theatre space this winter. The masonry wall extensions can be seen on the south wall of that space, as well as the rear of the Joy of Motion studio that occupies the former Safeway. The increased height will enable theatre and dance companies to creatively set and light their performances in both the fixed-seat theatre (276 capacity) and flex-seat theatre (300 capacity). Both spaces will be ready for the fall season in 2006, which will include gala opening events and performances in late October.

Giles on May 31, 2007 at 8:29 am

as other members have noted, yes the Atlas Theatre has reopened but not as a film venue.

JackCoursey on February 19, 2008 at 10:13 am

Here and here are February 2008 photos of the Atlas.

Giles on June 20, 2010 at 12:16 am

here’s the link to the Center’s Summer Film Series:

70’s Family Series aka the Gen X Nostalgia Series (5pm Saturdays June 19-September 4)
Buy a Family Package

June 19 The Muppet Movie
June 26 Pippi in the South Seas
July 3 1776
July 10 Charlotte’s Web
July 17 The Bad News Bears
July 24 Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
July 31 Bugsy Malone
Aug 7 Snoopy Come Home
Aug 14 Tom Sawyer
Aug 21 The Call of the Wild
Aug 28 Black Stallion
Sep 4 The Wiz

Cinema al Fresco aka Staycation Series (8pm Saturdays June 19-Sept 4)
Get Your Passport – That’s Amore!

June 19 Cinema Paradiso
June 26 The Godfather II
July 3 La Dolce Vita
July 10 Everybody’s Fine (Stanno Tutti Bene)
July 17 Seven Beauties
July 24 Only You
July 31 It Started in Naples
Aug 7 The Talented Mr. Ripley
Aug 14 Nine
Aug 21 Three Coins in the Fountain
Aug 28 Romeo and Juliet
Sept 4 Roman Holiday

Gay 101 (8pm June 9-Sept 2)
Get your PINK Card!

June 9 A Star is Born (Benefit for One in Ten-Wednesday evening))
June 17 The Women
June 24 Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?
July 1 Breakfast at Tiffany's
July 8 Auntie Mame
July 15 La Cage Aux Folles
July 22 Valley of the Dolls
July 29 Where the Boys Are
Aug 5 All About Eve
Aug 12 Suddenly, Last Summer
Aug 19 Cabaret
Aug 26 Mommie Dearest
Sept 2 Steel Magnolias

BobFurmanek on March 18, 2013 at 3:07 pm

The first theatre to have weekly television broadcasts:

rivest266 on June 21, 2015 at 12:19 pm

August 31st, 1938 grand opening ad in photo section.

DavidZornig on November 10, 2021 at 10:51 pm

2014 Flickr photos, scroll left for box office.

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