Pictured above: Latchis Theatre restored- courtesy Latchis Arts
The Latchis Theatre is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of Brattleboro’s Downtown Historic District. It was built in 1937-8 by the Latchis family as a memorial to their patriarch Demetrios Latchis, a Greek immigrant who built a theater empire in New England. The family operated the business for 75 years from the golden era of film through the decline of cinema when television and the Internet began to compete for entertainment audiences. In 2003 it was sold to the Brattleboro Arts Initiative which undertook restoration. Today the theater hosts movies and live performances.
The building’s exterior is Art Deco style which was popular in the 1930s. But it is the interior which is extraordinary. The family chose to honor their heritage with art based upon Greek myths. Three classic Greek entry spaces lead visitors into the grand two-story high main theatre. The floor of the entry foyer has multi-colored terrazzo floors with inlaid pieces of stone fashioned in geometric designs and display characters from Greek mythology.
The walls of the main theater have 12-16 foot high murals depicting the classical imagery of Athens and the Greek culture. The murals were painted by Hungarian artist Louis Jambor. They were created to honor the 2,500 year old Greek Agora, one of the centers of cultural life in Athens. It is thought that Jambor assisted in the overall design of the interior.
Stairs leading up both sides represent the Panathenaic Way, the road for priests and worshippers ascending to the Acropolis. The beautifully restored ceiling displays the twelve signs of the Zodiac representing the night sky. In 1938 the stars of the constellations twinkled when the theater lights dimmed.
The Latchis Theatre is to be celebrated as building of historic importance. It holds the story of an immigrant family that helped build this nation and that of esteemed Greek myths which are still relevant today.
Audio Production: Sally Seymour
Written and edited by Sally Seymour
Narrated by Gordon Hayward
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