1878 Purchase Street,
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Previous Names: Casino Theatre
Opened by 1927, this 600-seat neighborhood theatre had been known as the Casino Theatre when there was a policy change instituted in the late-1940’s that lasted until about 1951, judging from advertisements in the New Bedford Standard-Times.
By 1950 it had been renamed Art Theatre and become an art house that presented very carefully selected films, usually British, Italian, French. The management must have been very fond of classical music and opera because many operatic and other serious music films were presented. They would occasionally be augmented by a live vocalist or other (local) artist. The programs ran for one week only. There was one evening show and a matinee on Thursdays and Sundays. Advertisements described the place as being “your intimate cinema”. The whole affair looks to have been a true labor of love.
I don’t believe that apart from this cinema there was ever any long-term art house in New Bedford.
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