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Boston, Massachusetts

Modern Theatre

525 Washington Street

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Boston’s Modern Theatre is a historic venue in Boston’s downtown, and a major asset to the cultural and academic life at Suffolk University, which owns and manages the hall. The building began in 1876 as the Dobson Building, designed by Levi Newcomb.  In 1914 it was renovated as a movie theater, at its reopening described as the “most elegant state-of-the-art theatre of its size.”

Like many early 20th century venues, the Modern experienced a gradual decline in the latter half of the century; by1980 it had fallen into neglect and disrepair.  Suffolk University purchased the building, demolishing all but the original façade.  Today the building contains a 185-seat theater and a student residence hall with 197 beds; a number of restored design elements from the original structure, and new murals commissioned by award-winning designer John Lee Beatty.

Today the Modern serves as a venue for performances by Suffolk University student groups, works by university faculty (including Car Talk: The Musical!!! by Suffolk professor Wesley Savick), an annual month-long film festival in February, and productions by numerous area performing arts groups, including the Actors’ Shakespeare Project.

Modern Theatre Information

  • Public Transportation: Very Good (easily accessible by subway Orange, Red, and Silver Lines at the Downtown Crossing Station; and the Green Line at the Park Street Station; and several buses)
  • Handicapped Accessibility: Good
  • Performances/Programs: Approximately 100 events per season
  • Ticket Prices: Vary (free–$25) depending on event.