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History

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April 16, 1914 – Public announcement in Hamilton Herald for construction of a $20,000 theatre on Sherman, north of Barton

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Early November 1914 – Playhouse Theatre is open to the public. Shows put-on in the 700-seat theatre would be Vaudeville or Motion picture with “no expense spared”!

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1951 – Long-time owner Anthony Patzalek begins renovations to the Playhouse theatre. The plans were to include; a sloped concrete floor, removal of old seating and install of 650 new seats, updated heating & ventilation system, remodeling of the theatre interior to follow current “Art Deco” taste, renovated washrooms, powder rooms and managers office, and installation of a new marquee on the façade. Thankfully, the entire beau-arts appeal of the theatre was preserved, with a new floor, seating and new marquee being the sole improvements.

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1960s – The Playhouse Theatre is sold to an Italian family and becomes Hamilton’s premier Italian Cinema, showing Italian films and Hollywood films dubbed in Italian. Pictured above, the marquee reads "Il Padrino Part II"

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1980s – With cinema admission declining and under new ownership the Playhouse begins showing ‘blue movies’ in between Italian offerings to fill seats.

August 1990 – The theatre closes as a commercial cinema.

1995 – The Playhouse is purchased on a Loan from the City of Hamilton for $225,000 by Theatre Terra Nova. Soon after the live theatre production company folds.

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1997 – Todd Bender of City Kidz purchases the Playhouse, intending to grow his Christian arts program for inner city kids. City Kidz remained at the Playhouse for 20 years.

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February 12, 2018 – The Playhouse Theatre is sold to Wendy, Jacob & John Tutt of Princess Cinemas in Waterloo. A year is spent restoring the then 104-year-old theatre to resemble its original décor.

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March 1st, 2019 – The Playhouse Cinema is re-born, showing first-run art and independent films to Downtown Hamilton and beyond. The Playhouse re-opens with a sold out crowd to Cinema Paradiso.

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March 26th, 2019 – The Playhouse Cinema sign is raised into place. The sign, purchased from a collector’s farm in Dundas, was removed from Brantford’s Sanderson Centre. Restored by Sunset Neon, the sign has quickly become a local landmark, and beacon for independent cinema in Hamilton.

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