Bushfire Theatre

224 S. 52nd Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19139

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Related Websites

Bushfire Theatre Of Performing Arts (Official)

Additional Info

Previously operated by: Nixon-Nirdlinger Theaters

Firms: Stuckert & Sloan

Functions: Performing Arts

Styles: Beaux-Arts

Previous Names: Locust Theatre

Phone Numbers: Box Office: 215.747.9230

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Opened in 1914 as the Locust Theatre with a seating capacity of 1,400. It was a vaudeville and motion picture house in West Philadelphia. It was equipped with a Kimball organ. In 1924 the original Kimball organ was replaced by a larger Kimball organ. By the 1930’s The Locust Theatre was showing movies only. It was closed in the early-1970’s.

In 1977, the Bushfire Performing Arts Group acquired the Locust Theatre, and renamed it the Bushfire Theatre. It reopened in May 1980, but the project failed within a year. The theatre was still closed in 1986. It now operates as a performing arts space catering for the African-American community.

Contributed by Michael R. Rambo Jr.

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

veyoung52 on January 22, 2005 at 5:01 am

As the Locust, it was operated by Henry Sley, a parking lot magnate who had also acquired the downtown Aldine and renamed it the Viking. In 1961 the Locust got embroiled in an interesting legal tangle with United Artists. This was back when double-features were still around, and Mr. Sley managed to book, you won’t believe this, both “Gone With The Wind” and “By Love Possessed” (115 minutes) on the same bill. United Artists balked. Can you blame them? One could have spent an entire afternoon there!

airgrabber on January 6, 2011 at 5:23 pm

Does anyone have any pictures of this when it was the Locust?

lonixcap on September 3, 2011 at 7:38 am

Hey Veyoung52 I spent many an afternoon at the Locust during the mid to late 1960’s. On Saturdays they had 3 features for the price of one. The first movie they would only show once, then there was the regular double feature. But the first movie was always something like The Great Escape or Guns of Navarone or some other big blockbuster of the time. The Locust didn’t do those cheapie horror flicks and spaghetti westerns on Saturdays like the Nixon and Capitol did, it was always the big hollywood action flick, and i was totally into it.

TheALAN on January 26, 2014 at 1:08 am

The Locust opened with 1,400 seats. As the Bushfire Theatre, it now has 428 seats. No mention as to the discrepancy. Does anyone know?

Ssc48 on October 11, 2022 at 5:51 am

What does the interior of the theatre look like restored?

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