The Avon Theater celebrates 80 years of operation today. The value of its presence on Thayer Street can not be overstated. The peaked facade, with its old-timey marquee, breaks up an increasingly generic streetscape. For movie fans it has been a treasure.
The Providence Journal interviewed owner Richard Dulgarian who provided a little history.
The Avon was built around 1915, when it had a very brief run as The Toy Theater. For the next two decades or so it may have been used as a garage, until the Dulgarians’ grandfather, Krikor, re-opened it as a theater in 1938. It’s been in the Dulgarian family ever since. Richard Dulgarian said he wasn’t allowed to hang out in the theater as a child, since the Avon was showing European fare considered too racy for impressionable young eyes.
And they host unusual events from time to time. Just recently they screened ‘Battleship Potemkin’ with an accompaniment by the 17-piece Berklee Silent Film Orchestra and it was fantastic. (They will be returning in May or June with a different movie.)
Several years ago the Low Anthem headlined a show including Brown Bird and Death Vessel and a bar was set up in the back. The last song was ‘Charlie Darwin’ and the curtains parted showing the video while Jeff, Ben, and Jocie sang along . . . goosebumps. And it was just one huge party.
Not to mention . . . real butter on the popcorn. Thank you Dulgarian brothers.