Celebrated Cinema

The Chatham Orpheum Theater celebrated its 100th anniversary this year. The theater was the first in town when it opened its doors in 1916. The Orpheum initially showed silent films, and later, popular “talkies.” Interstate Theaters Corporation, a national chain, bought the cinema in 1938 and operated it until 1987. Then, the new owner Ronald Rudnick attempted to create a live theater venue, but that proved unsustainable, and in 1989, a CVS occupied the space until 2011. Not wanting anything but a theater to occupy the space, a nonprofit was formed and with donations and volunteers, the historic space on Main Street became a theater once again and opened its doors on July 26, 2013, returning a beloved venue to downtown. Today, the theater plays a diverse selection of films, from local and independent films and documentaries to new blockbusters and old classics.  — Julia Appicelli