Community Theatre

13 Waterman Avenue,
North Providence, RI 02911

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Additional Info

Previous Names: Trahan's Theatre, Hillside Cinema

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Community Theatre

This theatre in North Providence’s Centredale section was for many decades the only theatre in the town. Now there are none since it was torn down over twenty years ago after a fire. It opened in 1923 as Trahan’s Theatre. It was renamed Community Theatre on September 5, 1931. At the end of its career it was the Hillside Cinema…and was showing weekly programs of Italian films of the popular ethnic type.

Contributed by Gerald A. DeLuca

Recent comments (view all 14 comments)

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on January 18, 2009 at 12:41 pm

Francis L. Moses was manager of the former Community Theater, Centredale, for more than 25 years, before retiring in 1973.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 21, 2010 at 4:40 am

From Boxoffice magazine, February 4, 1956:

“In the most extensive cooperation promotion ever seen in this area, 14 Providence and nearby houses used record-breaking newspaper advertising space in heralding the joint premiere of "The Day the World Ended” and “Phantom from 10,000 Leagues.” Virtually taking over the amusement pages of the local press for several days, the following houses united in the ad: Elmwood, Hope, Uptown, Liberty, Castle, all in this city; Community, Centredale; Strand, Pawtucket; Union, Attleboro; Hollywood, East Providence; Palace, Cranston; Community, Wakefield; Park, Auburn; Palace, Arctic and Stadium, Woonsocket. A brief checkup of local houses indicated that opening days were solid."

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on February 3, 2011 at 2:33 am

The Providence Evening Tribune of September 1, 1923 has an ad including a Centredale exhibitor called Centredale Worsted Mills as being part of Paramount Week with a showing of the film Moran of the Lady Letty. Could that have been the same place as the Casino or Strand in Centredale? Or were those two, both listed elsewhere with a Smith Street address, actually the same place? Or was this merely a mill showing for workers and their families? Perhaps even at the Community Theatre? Perhaps someone can straighten out the history of film exhibition in Centredale.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on February 8, 2011 at 5:19 am

Trahan’s Theatre (not “Trahon”) becomes the Community after refurbishing. Ad announcing opening on September 5, 1931:
Newspaper article reporting the opening, from Providence County Times, September 4, 1931:

modemjunkie on August 3, 2011 at 10:51 am

I am working on a new post to “blog” based on my mother’s letters home to Germany in 1934. She mentions seeing “Women in Uniform” and laments that it was “[not] especially great,” saying, “Maybe I did not understand the English well enough.” Oddly your post is the only reference I have to an English version other than some subtitled or much later remakes. If you have

I won’t post that letter until August 6, but the blog, “Trudel’s Truth” with her earlier letters is at

modemjunkie on August 3, 2011 at 10:53 am

The letters are at Trudel’s Truth. My mother makes numerous references to movies she saw during the period and I am trying to link to YouTubes or other info about each one.

Chris_Sheridan on February 27, 2013 at 1:51 pm

around 1976, when my friend Todd and I were 9, we rode our bikes down to this theater as it had just been demolished, we climbed the hill behind it and snuck into the rubble and threw seats around at each other…I remember it being a pile of broken cement and theatre seats, and felt bad because I loved movies as a kid. it was right by the post office on the short part of Smith where it meets Waterman Avenue. I think it was replaced by a parking lot….

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on November 22, 2022 at 12:20 pm

A Facebook friend of mine wrote: “I grew up on Redfern St. off Woonasquatucket Ave. and spent many days hiking through Centredale on the way to the railroad tracks. One of the ushers at the theater was a short, grizzly man we called Fourgee. We climbed the “cliffs” behind the theater many a time.” –RP

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on December 16, 2022 at 7:40 am

A Facebook user wrote: “I have fond memories of spending Saturday afternoon at the Community theater, hula hoop contests and an older man with a bald head walking up and down the isle making sure kids stayed in there seats. I don’t remember there being any parents, just a maze of kids having fun.”

rivest266 on June 6, 2024 at 11:12 am

Reopened as Community on September 5th, 1931. Grand opening ad posted.

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