Ashland Theatre

203 England Street,
Ashland, VA 23005

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Ashland Theatre (Official)

Additional Info

Functions: Live Performances, Movies

Styles: Streamline Moderne

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Ashland Theatre

The Ashland Theatre, which was opened in 1948, sits directly on Route 54 (England Street) in a ‘Mayberry-like’ town. Its facade has a distinct Art Moderne tower with glass block. In a small adjoining building was a cafe.

Rumor has it that two of the four doors on the side of the cafe were originally African-American-only restrooms. Operated as a second-run movie house until about 1998, when it still had its old Century projectors in place. Saw some ocassional use once again from 2005 until 2007 with film screenings and live events. It was reopened in late-2014.

Contributed by Ed Worthington

Recent comments (view all 15 comments)

Michael Furlinger
Michael Furlinger on March 5, 2008 at 9:18 pm

theater for sale …loopnet

Michael Furlinger
Michael Furlinger on June 14, 2008 at 10:45 pm


chris_flash on June 24, 2011 at 4:12 pm

My buddy was interested in buying this place about 3 years ago, but when we inspected, we found that asbestos needs to be removed from the heating + cooling system. The seller refused to adjust his price to allow for the removal, so the deal fell through.

The interior lobby and bathrooms are in nice shape, but the projection area needs updating and there is no real concession area, due to there being a café adjoining the theater back when it was built.

Outside, on the eastern side of the theater, there are remnants of old washrooms, like the kind you see at gas stations, so the story about “colored only” bathrooms may be true.

It’s a great old theater, but it needs at least $50-100k to get it right, and that doesn’t include the asbestos removal.

Robert L. Bradley
Robert L. Bradley on August 24, 2013 at 1:14 pm

I worked at the Ashland in the late eighties as a projectionist when it was a dollar theatre. They had Brenkert projectors with 6000-foot reels and Brenkert arc lamps that had been converted to xenon. The screen was curved. There was no curtain and the masking was opened and closed manually. The flat picture (1.85:1) was beautiful, but the scope picture was barely wider than the flat picture and a lot was cut off on both sides. Getting a sharp focus was impossible. The house lights along the upper side walls didn’t work, so a couple of amber spotlights on the back wall lit the theater. The reason it closed is that the landlord raised the rent to where the theater couldn’t be profitable. The outside front of the building was beautiful at night when the colored neon inside the glass bricks was turned on.

Itstheme30 on December 14, 2014 at 2:58 am

This theater is showing movies and having events again. Just saw a movie there last night and seeing another next weekend. I went here as a kid to see matinee showings of Disney and others children’s films. I saw The Lion King, when it was first released here in 1994. It was and is a great theater.

JackCoursey on May 25, 2015 at 9:42 am

The actual opening date is 1948 and the website is Ashland Theatre

Ckirby411 on May 24, 2018 at 7:32 am

According to the main website for the theaters, it will be reopening full time this year! They are remodeling and updating the entire building from what the photographs show. As a small child, my family would walk to this theater since we lived right down the road (near the old Brown Bag store of you remember that). I recall seeing Return of the Jedi, ET, Superman 3, The Burbs, Pet Cemetary, Forrest Gump and the original Jurassic Park here. This makes me so nostalgic and happy.

JRHagan on August 31, 2019 at 5:56 am

Had a chance to visit the Ashland over vacation .This one is a beauty. There is great video posted on their web page I highly recommend a visit to this theater & their web page.

bufffilmbuff on September 19, 2023 at 8:56 pm

In order to celebrate their 75th anniversary the Ashland theater will be showing a series of films from 1948. Tickets are only 75 cents (though I am sure donations are more than welcome). These will continue monthly through next spring. Whoever is picking these films has good taste. They are: September 18th: Max Opul’s LETTER FROM AN UNKNOWN WOMAN October 16th: Orson Welles’ MACBETH November 13th: Frank Capra’s STATE OF THE UNION December 11th: Powell and Pressberger’s THE RED SHOES January 22nd: John Huston’s KEY LARGO February 12th: Alfred Hitchcock’s ROPE March 25th: Charles Walters’ EASTER PARADE April 15th: Laurence Olivier’s HAMLET May 13th: Preston Sturges’ UNFAITHFULLY YOURS June 10th: Anatole Litvak’s SORRY WRONG NUMBER July 15: Vitorio DeSica’s BICYCLE THIEVES August 12: Vincente Minnelli’s THE PIRATE FOR MORE DETAILS:

I went last night for the showing of LETTER FROM AN UNKNOWN WOMAN which drew a good sized crowd. Everything was well done with digital projection and good sound. This is a real gem.

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