Charleston SC movie Theatre
Listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, the Riviera Theater is a sublime example of the romantic Art Deco style. It opened on January 15, 1939 with Edmund Lowe in “Secrets of a Nurse”. Seating was provided for 789 in the orchestra level, 125 in the balcony, and 279 in the gallery (rear balcony for African Americans, who had their own separate entrance on Market Street).
This stunning theatre was the home of first run pictures, on its fifty foot screen, until it closed on September 5, 1977. The theater was leased to a church group in 1979 and, by the mid-1980’s, threatened with demolition.
The Friends of the Riviera protected the theater and it was eventually sold to the Charleston Place Hotel (which is located next door).
The hotel restored the entire theater, but removed the seats in order to create a conference center and ballroom.
Contributed by Ross Melnick
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