The Grand Old Lady of Granville

Today I spent some time exploring the Orpheum theatre with my camera. It was built from 1926 to 1927 and is a National Historic Site. At the time of construction storefront property on Granville street was expensive. Joseph Langer found a way around this by purchasing a small piece of property for the entrance and then built the theatre itself on the next street over, Seymour street, where land was more affordable.

The Orpheum Theatre was designed by the Scottish architect B. Marcus Priteca, who designed nearly two hundred theatres from San Diego to Alaska. Priteca was a master at economically creating the illusion of opulence with plasterwork on reinforced concrete. 

The design contains a number of different architectural influences – the vaulted ceilings of the main concourse and foyer and the terra cotta undersides of the marquees and the travertine walls and pillars are Italian influenced, there are exotic ceiling motifs, crests of British heraldry, chandeliers of Czechoslovakian crystal, Moorish-inspired organ screens, and Baroque ceiling and dome covers. 

When I walk around the Orpheum, the combination of the red carpet and the eerie light cast from the chandeliers, reminds me of Stanley Kubrick’s movie The Shining. To scroll through the gallery of images click on the first image and then use the left and right keys on your keyboard.

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