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One of the most fun experiences you can have at the movies is when you go see a new release in a converted live theater. As live theater has become less popular, and people are switching to spending their time at movie theaters, many theaters have made the switch.

Why can it be so much different to see a movie in one of these vintage, repurposed theaters? Because there’s no business like show business, and converted theater is the best of everything about show biz.

Different elements of live theaters

Ever since the beginning of public places to gather for performances, there was a need to get the word out. People wanted to know – what show is coming next? Who’s in it? When does it start?

Live theater marquee lights

Lights. Camera. Action. Live theater meets Hollywood.

Marquee Signs & Lights

When live theaters were at their peak across the country, most theater marquees became large, prominent displays. In busy streets, people could see the upcoming performances from across the street. Sometimes, the walls alongside the theater may have been plastered with layers of posters.

Many of these classic theater marquees still exist, complete with their large bulb lights and moveable type text. The charm of this throwback method of communication brings a bit of the old world to the modern city street. To keep their retro vibe, many of these converted live theaters will have original portions of the walls coated with posters. Or some of the old posters in a frame. Taking a little walk through the theater’s history when you’re there to see the latest release can be an unreal, mind-bending experience.

Retro architecture & design

One of the most fun things about a converted live theater is that the designers who update them often work to keep some of the unique, vintage elements of the theater. This means you’ll find some interesting things you won’t find in modern theaters!

Many classic buildings are preserved or recognized by their local historical societies. When this happens, the classic architecture is important because it’s unique to the area’s history or local design. Or it might be classic materials and design elements that aren’t used in modern architecture. For example, since there are now laws in place against buying, selling, or trading ivory, if a building has ivory construction elements, it would be very valuable to preserve them.

Some older theaters also have elements built into them that aren’t typically incorporated into theater design today, such as balconies or separate rooms for parents viewing with children. Just the simple layout and viewing a movie from a different angle can provide an entirely different experience.

Whatever the unique elements, it adds an extra sense of class, of importance, when you go to a theater that preserves these classical touches.

Amazing Acoustics

One of the most important elements of designing a live theater is the sound quality. When theaters were mainly for actors or musicians, who needed to be heard by the entire crowd, they were designed without speakers in mind. If the architect knew what he or she was doing, the acoustics in the theater should be amazing. The shapes of the walls, the layout of the chairs, and the orientation of panels or curtains are all to funnel and absorb the sound.

Many designers take this into consideration and can maximize the sound quality based on placing the speakers appropriately. Overall, because the room has been specifically designed to withstand and inhabit amazing sound-related performances over time, live theaters can have much better acoustics, even for movie-viewing.


There’s nothing like a live theater.

Converted Live Theaters Are the Best of Both Worlds

In addition to all this vintage fun, unique elements that enhance your movie-going experience, these converted theaters offer all the modern conveniences. Upgrades, updated, and modernized, get full meals, plug in headphones or receive disability assistance, all while viewing the latest 3D action adventure. Just because a converted live theater brings the old world into the new, it doesn’t lose all the amazing fun of going to the movies.