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Huntington Avenue Theatre, Mainstage

Huntington Avenue Theatre, Mainstage

Designed and constructed as America’s first civic playhouse, the building today known as the Boston University Theatre was the first tax-exempt theatre established in the nation. Construction having begun in 1923, it was formally opened with Sheridan’s The Rivals on November 10‚ 1925. The architect was J. Williams Beal and Sons.

Originally named the Repertory Theatre of Boston‚ the theatre was built to be a permanent home for the Henry Jewett Players‚ a Boston–based repertory theatre company. In choosing to locate the theatre across from Symphony Hall and near the Museum of Fine Arts and the old Boston Opera House‚ the theatre’s creators intended to signify its character as a major cultural institution of Boston and its difference from the commercial playhouses in the Boylston‚ Washington‚ Tremont streets area of the city.

Henry Jewett, a native of Australia, whose portrait as Macbeth hangs today in the main stairwell leading to the theatre’s balcony, was a distinguished actor and director. Born in 1862, he moved to the United States around the turn of the century and became the leading man for Julia Marlowe. He settled in Boston shortly after 1900 and organized the Henry Jewett Players. The Jewett Company first offered Shakespeare productions at the Boston Opera House; in 1916 it moved to the Copley Theatre where it performed until the early 1920s. But Jewett’s ambition was to have a permanent home for his company, and he and his wife Frances vigorously pres

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Huntington Avenue Theatre, Mainstage

264 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115

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