Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts

4 Southbridge Street,
Worcester, MA 01608

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The Hanover Theatre for the Peforming Arts

Additional Info

Previously operated by: Fox Circuit, Loew's Inc., Loew's-Poli, National Amusements, Poli

Architects: Thomas White Lamb

Firms: Cutting, Carleton & Cutting

Functions: Performing Arts

Styles: French Renaissance

Previous Names: Franklin Square Theatre, Poli's Grand Theatre, Fox-Poli Palace Theatre, Loew's Poli Theatre, Showcase Cinemas 1,2,3,4

Phone Numbers: Box Office: 508.831.0800

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News About This Theater

Fox-Poli Palace Theatre (now the Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts), Worcester, Massachusetts - 1929

The former Fox-Poli Palace Theatre was built in 1926 on the site of, and incorporated part of, the Franklin Square Theatre which had opened on November 23, 1903, and was later known as the Poli Grand Theatre. It was equipped with a Hall organ.

The architect of the Fox-Poli Palace Theatre was Thomas Lamb, and it opened with 3,000 seats. At the time it was considered one of the most beautiful theatres in New England. It was taken over by the Loew’s chain until 1967 when it was acquired by National Amusements (Showcase Cinemas).

It was divided into four auditoriums reopening as the Showcase Cinemas 1,2,3,4. The lobby, mezzanine and balcony remain intact. Unfortunately, the stage and private boxes have been demolished. The theatre was closed in 1998 when the chain built a 16 screen megaplex in the northern part of Worcester.

The non-profit Worcester Center for Performing Arts took control of the venue in December of 2002 and restoration/renovation began at that time.

The project was funded by a variety of sources, including tax credits, foundation grants and debt financing. The grand opening of the Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts was set for March 14, 2008.

Contributed by Worcester Center for Performing Arts

Recent comments (view all 56 comments)

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on February 19, 2011 at 10:09 am

I mentioned the 1904 Poli Grand Theatre in my posting above of Dec 19, 2005. Somewhere I learned that the Hanover was built at a 90-degree angle to the earlier theater which I take to mean that, since one walks straight in from the street to the rear of the auditorium in the Hanover, that the 1904 Franklin Square/Grand must have had an auditorium which was parallel to the street ???

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on February 19, 2011 at 10:37 am

I just looked at the 1941 photo of the Loew’s Poli on the MGM Theatre Report and the 1904 Franklin Square Theatre facade is most definitely still there, just to the left of the big Loew’s marquee.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 19, 2011 at 5:22 pm

The few descriptions of the 1926 expansion project I’ve found don’t give much detail about it, but as the seating capacity of the house was just about doubled it’s clear that the auditorium at least had to have been completely or almost completely rebuilt. A 90-degree turn in its orientation seems very likely. The history page of the official web site says that the Franklin Square’s auditorium extended about as far back from the street as the front of the balcony extended in the Poli Palace.

There was definitely an entirely new entrance lobby in 1926, adjacent to the original, but the old Franklin Square lobby (probably redecorated by Lamb) was also kept. A comment by Doug Ingalls (at the second link I posted in my previous comment) says that the Franklin Square’s entrance was used as an exit in later years, and that the second floor space above the original lobby, which had originally been the managers office, was used for storage during the years he was managing the building.

A later comment at the same page, by Dylan Kellet, says that, before the Showcase closed, the stained glass window on the second floor front was removed. He thought it was to be replaced by a reproduction, but this photo from the Hanover’s opening night (snagged from the collection linked to by Joe Tortorelli in his March 21, 2008, comment above) shows plain window glass where the stained glass used to be. I don’t know if the stained glass has since been replaced, or even if it is ever coming back. The original is probably in somebody’s house by now.

It’s unfortunate that Lamb’s 1926 facade is entirely gone (in fact his entire 1926 addition, from the street back to the auditorium wall, was demolished) but at least a partial, ghost version of Cutting, Carleton & Cutting’s 1904 facade is still there. Luckily, Lamb’s interior fared better.

David Wodeyla
David Wodeyla on March 20, 2011 at 8:57 am

There was a great tour of the theatre conducted yesterday, here’s a link to a video of the Wurlitzer organ.
View link

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on May 27, 2012 at 10:11 am

For the past week Channel 5, the ABC-TV outlet in Boston has been carrying an ad for a touring company of “Mary Poppins” which is to appear at the Hanover Theatre. The graphics in the ad give the theater name and location correctly. But the voice-over says the show is coming into “the Shubert Theatre in Worcester!” How do mistakes like this happen? There is no Shubert in Worcester, although there may have been a Shubert-affiliated theater there years ago.

MSC77 on August 9, 2023 at 11:16 am

A chronology of the Worcester region’s 70mm presentations history has recently been published. Showcase Cinemas gets several mentions in the article.

rivest266 on April 26, 2024 at 10:07 am

The Franklin Square theatre opened on November 23rd, 1903. Grand opening ad posted.

rivest266 on April 26, 2024 at 1:20 pm

Reopened by Mr. S. Z. Poli as the Grand theatre on October 27th, 1913. Grand opening ad posted.

rivest266 on April 26, 2024 at 4:49 pm

The old Grand theatre was closed and demolished for the new Poli’s Palace that opened on November 15th, 1926. Grand opening ad posted.

rivest266 on April 29, 2024 at 12:39 am

Closed on June 12th, 1967, for rebuilding into the Showcase Cinemas 1 & 2, which opened on June 27th, 1968. It was split up to 4 screens on December 21st, 1973. Ad posted.

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