History of the Carlisle Theatre


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Courtesy of Cumberland County Historical Society, Carlisle, PA




Courtesy of Cumberland County Historical Society, Carlisle, PA

The Carlisle Theatre, originally called The Comerford, opened its doors in May of 1939. It was by far the grandest of three movie “palaces” all within a block of one another and was the first centrally air conditioned building in Carlisle.

The Theatre was built in the Art Deco style known as “streamlined moderne.” From the razzle-dazzle modernistic marquee with its bold Deco lettering, to the richly designed interior, Art Deco styling abounds

During its early years, the Theatre offered daily continuous shows from 2:30 until 11:30 P.M. The matinee price for adults was 25 cents and the evening price 40 cents. The Theatre flourished through the 1960's, acting as the “hub” of a vibrant downtown. With the advent of cineplexes, the Theatre entered a state of decline in the 1970's, eventually closing in 1986.

In response to a desire to see the Theatre reopened as an anchor to a changing and revitalized downtown, a group of citizens formed the Carlisle Regional Performing Arts Center, Inc. in 1990. A fundraising effort was launched and the Theatre was purchased in 1991. After thousands of hours donated by a skilled volunteer workforce, the Theatre was restored to its 1930's Art Deco brilliance and reopened in 1993.

Now used for films, performing arts, concerts, and community events, the Carlisle Theatre is one of the principal forces behind the revitalization of downtown Carlisle.









Carlisle Theatre ◊ 40 West High Street ◊ Carlisle, Pennsylvania 17013 ◊ (717) 258-0666