Olympia Music Hall

17 Pleasant Street,
Worcester, MA 01609

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Related Websites

Olympia Music Hall (Official)

Additional Info

Previously operated by: E.M. Loew's Theaters Inc.

Firms: Cutting, Carleton & Cutting, Cutting & Forbush

Previous Names: Lothrop's Opera House, Lynch's Pleasant Street Theatre, Olympia Theatre, Fine Arts Theatre, Art Theatre

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View from the projection room.

An old theatre on a side street in the heart of Worcester, Massachusetts. It can be easily missed as it has a virtually plain brick facade with practically no decoration. Lothrop’s Opera House was opened on August 17, 1891 with “The Specter Bridegroom and Queena”. In October 1906 plans were announced that the theatre would be remodeled by architectural firm Cutting, Carleton & Cutting. On June 12, 1907 it was reopened, renamed Lynch’s Pleasant Street Theatre. Over the years it presented drama and vaudeville, with stars such as Al Jolson & Charlie Murray appearing. By 1914 it was operating as a movie theatre named Pleasant Theatre. It was renamed Olympia Theatre on August 18, 1919 and was operated by E.M. Loew’s Theaters Inc. as a movie theatre. On May 30, 1956 following a month’s closure for refurbishment, it reopened, still operated by E.M. Loew’s Theaters Inc. as the Fine Arts Theatre screening “Les Diaboliques” followed by other foreign art house movies. It was later twinned and operated for many years as an adult film theatre, which closed in January 2006.

It has since been de-twinned and in 2019 there were proposals put forward to reopen as a music hall/bar & grill named Olympia Music Hall with a 999 seating capacity.

Contributed by Gerald A. DeLuca

Recent comments (view all 38 comments)

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on July 19, 2019 at 1:26 pm

More details about the possible reopening: the present owner paid only $60K for the building. He has let the prospective buyers into the theatre many times for planning purposes and cleaning up. There are 2 storefront tenants on the ground floor and these will be retained. An elevator will be installed in the lobby to reach the upper floors. A semi-circular forestage or apron will be built at the front of the stage. New stage equipment will be installed. For now, they seem to be using the old name “Olympia”.

spectrum on April 12, 2020 at 5:00 pm

I’m delighted to see that my comment from 2014 is incorrect and the theatre is still standing and will be renovated!

Here are some links to good detailed articles:

Official “Olympia Music Hall” website:


Details of their plan :(You can download the full plan here):


Extensive article:


Extensive photo gallery:


June 2019 Article in Worcester Telegram:


Athelstan on October 16, 2020 at 10:13 pm

Channel 5’s Chronicle did a story tonight 10/16/20 on the Olympia aka the notorious Art Theatre. You can find it on the WCVB website. I am pasting the transcript below.

In worcester, nicole tells us, theatergoers went to the olympia. ♪ nicole: it is easy to overlook. A historical landmark on pleasant street in worcester. The only sign on the outside of what was once the hub of nightlife here. Mosaic tiles at the feet of unremarkable doors leading to the theater. >> it is a magnificent building made from fine quality materials. It is irreplaceable. Nicole: debra packard, with worcester’s preservation society says this space originally opened in 1891 as lothrop’s opera house. It is one of the few theaters perhaps frozen in time. Covered in years of neglect, broken down this of the grand decor though they try, cannot mask the beauty of the past. ♪ >> you see the stage. One or two lights and you know there were lights all around the stage. It is just — i can’t imagine how exciting that was to come here and see those lights. Nicole: chairs beaten-down by the weight of time with intricate carvings deke through insulation that once kept the sounds of performance tightly surrounding audiences of up to 1300 people. >> it’s a great combination of the energy of the past. When it first opened, it was very unusual because the orchestra was all-female. I would like to envision what was going on especially since it has had so many iterations. >> ♪ nicole: iterations that called for an evolving clientele. >> a theater venue. Then later on it became a cinema and then a so-called fine arts cinema. Nicole: fine arts meaning? >> meaning, risque. Pornography, i guess you would call it? ♪ nicole: torn and tattered, the once elegant red carpets still covered the creaking steps that lead to the balcony and a treasure-hunt of sorts. That is where we met the buildings caretaker, glenn pieper, one of the only people who has been inside appear the last decade. >> it’s just nostalgic coming here. They used to use it, raise the curtains. Prop ratings up above. Nicole: while he hopes the curtain will once again rise on the stage, he holds dear to theatrical antiques still in working order. >> this is awesome. What is it? >> it is a projector. What they used to do the old movies with. Nicole: how did it work? >> they used a carbon rod which would create that and it would be like welding. They used the bright light. ♪ nicole: like a hollywood ending, pieper hopes for revival here. >> it is so exciting for me to think of what it could become. I think this can be a really special place. ♪ As for the olympia theater in Worcester, a 2019 couple stepped forth with plans to repurpose the property for a venue for live music. They have not been able to go on with those plans because of covid-19. The property remains on preservation worcester’s list of most endangered properties.

spectrum on March 14, 2022 at 9:08 am

Their website is gone. Don’t know if they are still going on with their renovation plans.

rivest266 on April 26, 2024 at 6:01 am

Grand opening ad posted.

rivest266 on April 26, 2024 at 6:03 am

also a new website at https://www.wootheatre.org/.

rivest266 on April 26, 2024 at 1:41 pm

Reopened as Lyric on November 19th, 1906. Article and ad posted.

rivest266 on April 26, 2024 at 1:50 pm

Reopened as Pleasant Street Theatre on June 12th, 1907. Another article and ad posted.

rivest266 on April 26, 2024 at 6:44 pm

Reopened as Olympia on August 18th, 1919. Another ad posted.

rivest266 on April 28, 2024 at 4:34 pm

Reopened as Fine Arts on May 30th, 1956 with “Les Diaboliques”.

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