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Theatre Auditorium

Theatre Auditorium ~2003

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Takoma Theatre Conservancy

Theatre Building Update

DC Historic Preservation Review Board gives tentative support for plans to convert the Takoma Theatre to a two-story residential building (NW Current, Oct 2, 2013)

Featured Events/ Performances

The PAUSE Mentoring Program Comes to Coolidge H.S. with Conservancy Sponsorship  Starting this past September 2012, Coolidge students can participate in the PAUSE (Potomac Anacostia Ultimate Story Exchange) after school mentoring program and create their own multimedia electronic books by writing stories, poems or songs, illustrating the text with their own drawings, photos, and video, and adding music to create their own multimedia presentation.  The final product is uploaded to the web for viewing.  The workshop leader is Dr. Carolivia Herron, Conservancy Vice-President, author and retired professor of comparative literature from Harvard University and Mt Holyoke College, and is assisted by Ms. Claire Berke, 10th grade English teacher, and André Harris, producer for several recordings of well-known hip hop musicians in New York and Washington.  Other sponsors include Northgate Kiwanis Club of Washington, DC and Maryland, Tifereth Israel Congregation, and 


Smithsonian Discovery Theater presents "How Old is a Hero" at Shepherd ES, Takoma EC and West EC  - the inspiring stories of three young heroes of the civil rights movement
(Read more . . .)

IMGP0122 Conservancy sponsors Lesole's South African Dancers at newly renovated Takoma EC At the first performance event in the newly renovated school, the Lesole's Dance Project introduced three South African cultures to Takoma EC's students through their high energy dances (Read more ... )

IMGP0095TTC Begins Third Year of Sponsoring Arts Performances in DC schools with Native American storyteller, Dovie Thomason at LAMB Public Charter School (Read more . . .)

"Let Freedom Sing: The Story of Marian Anderson" performances for youth, seniors and community members
The Conservancy brought four performances of the opera to the community in local schools and neighborhood venues.   (Read more . . .)


At dusk Saturday, a band of light appeared on the front of the old brick building at Fourth and Butternut streets NW, [DC] beneath the clatter of Metro trains. Soon after, small groups of people began to drift through the building’s glass doors, and cars swing in and out of an adjacent parking lot . . . The light belonged to the marquee of the old Takoma Theatre . . . [1]

It was 1978. A community non-profit group had begun to light-up the historic movie screen once again but the owner, K-B Theatres, was unsupportive, and the corner, once a focal point for the community, was dark again. Since then other community groups and the current owner have sought unsuccessfully to sustain the theater through short seasons of live performances. Today, the Takoma is once again dark, and, most significantly, since 2005, it has been threatened by demolition by the current owner. (more . . .).

Saving and revitalizing a community resource

The battle to save the historic Takoma Theatre, at least from substantial demolition, is now over. In May, the DC Mayor’s Agent for Historic Preservation issued a legal ruling denying the owner’s application to raze the theater, a contributing resource in the Takoma Historic District, to construct a 43-unit apartment building. [2]

The Mayor’s agent concluded that the Applicant did not satisfy the burden of proof that demolition is in the public interest because of “special merit”, or that failure to issue the permit to raze would result in unreasonable economic hardship. The appeal to the Mayor’s Agent followed a decision in October, 2009 by the DC Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) rejecting the owner’s application to demolish nearly all of the theater building.
(more . . .)

For supporters seeking to save the theater, the Mayor’s Agent decision lifts a major cloud of uncertainty from its future. However, increased efforts are needed to revitalize the theater and light up the marquee once again. Unlike prior efforts, the Takoma Theatre Conservancy is seeking to acquire the theatre from the owner.

[Note: The Conservancy is not associated with its current operation, renting or leasing.]

The Conservancy seeks to revitalize the theater as a communityVision of 4th Street & Theatre resource – a cultural arts and education center – a place once again for community events and activities, and a resource to help rejuve­nate the adjacent commercial area. We will seek to renovate the theater and host a wide array of theatrical, film and musical programs; to support a variety of theater and arts groups and local performers; to provide classes for people of all ages, especially youth who lack access to arts in their schools; and to offer vocational training and internships for high school students and young adults. (see Goals)

Over the past three years, the Conservancy has raised public and private funds and initiated the architectural, engineering and financial studies to achieve these goals. The Conservancy is beginning to advance its program goals by supporting local performers and major Arts Integration activities in local DCPS schools. (more . . .)

We seek to create a wealth of arts and education programs that will be an economic and cultural benefit to the neighborhood. Please join us in these efforts through your contribution and/or membership in the Conservancy. (The Takoma Theatre Conservancy is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Your contributions are tax deductible.)

[1] Group Fights to Save Takoma Park Theater by Jackson Diehl, Washington Post, Jan 1, 1979

[2] Mayor's Agent Decision and Order, HPA09-380, May 21, 2010

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