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Strand Theatre

The Strand serves as a cultural and educational resource to artists and audiences, regardless of race or cultural background, age, ability, gender, economic level, or sexual orientation.

Central to the Strand's mission is the development and implementation of youth arts educations programs. The Strand Theatre has a special commitment to the surrounding communities of Dorchester, Roxbury, and Mattapan.

543 Columbia Road
Boston, MA 02125

You'll also find our events on the ArtsBoston calendar.

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Rental information

Please consider renting our theater for your next event. For more information and nonprofit rates, contact Melodi Greene at 617-635-1403.

Email submission:

Please fill out the Strand rental application and email it to:

Melodi Greene, General Manager

Directions and parking

Directions and parking
  • Red Line: Get off at Andrew station. Take the #16 (Forest Hills) or #17 (Field's Corner) bus to Upham's Corner/Dudley Street. Get off in front of Payless Shoe Store. The Strand is up one block on the left, just past Bank of America.
  • Orange Line: Get off at Ruggles station. Take the #15 (Upham's Corner) bus via Dudley Station. Get off in front of Get off in front of Payless Shoe Store. The Strand is up one block on the left, just past Bank of America.
  • Orange Line: Get off at Forest Hills station. Take the #16 (Forest Hills) or #17 (Field's Corner) bus to Upham's Corner/Dudley Street. Get off in front of Payless Shoe Store. The Strand is up one block on the left, just past Bank of America.
  • From South: Take I-93 North to exit 15, Columbia Road. Left at the bottom of ramp to third set of lights.There is a Kentucky Fried Chicken / Tedeschi’s on the corner. Turn left onto Columbia Road. Go through two sets of lights, the Strand is on the left, just past Bank of America.
  • From North: Take I-93 South to exit 15, Columbia Road. Right at the bottom of ramp to third set of lights. There is a Kentucky Fried Chicken / Tedeschi’s  on the corner. Turn left onto Columbia Road. Go through two sets of lights, the Strand is on the left, just past Bank of America.
  • From West: Mass Pike (I-90) east into Boston, to I-93 south. Follow "From the NORTH" directions. 
  • From Jamaica Plain/ Brookline: Take the JamaicaWay south to the Arborway. Keep straight to the rotary. Go 3/4 around the rotary and turn into Franklin Park. Go through the park, and turn left onto Blue Hill Avenue. Go about 50 yards, then make a right onto Columbia Road. The Strand is about 1 1/3 miles down on the right, just past the Strand/ Walgreen’s Pharmacy. 
  • On street parking is available on Columbia Road.
  • Free off-street parking is available in the Ramsey Street Municipal lot. Ramsey Street is located at the intersection of Dudley Street and Columbia Road behind CVS Pharmacy and Payless Shoes.
  • For evening and Sunday shows, free parking is also available in the Citizen's Bank and Santander Bank parking lots. The Citizen's Bank lot is located at the corner of Columbia Road and Cushing Avenue. The Santander Bank lot is located in the rear of the bank at 585 Columbia Rd.

More Strand information

  • The theater seats 1403 people.
  • There are 287 seats in total. 16 seats are all-access. End row wheelchair seating is at the discretion of the presenter.
  • There are 404 seats in total. Ten are wheelchair seats and ten are chaperone seats with back entrance access only.
  • Proscenium opening width: 38 feet x 6 inches
  • Stage floor to top of grid: 57 feet x 0 inches
  • Wing Space right: 14 feet x 0 inches
  • Wing Space left: 16 feet x 0" inches
  • 8 feet 0 inches into wing there is a ceiling height of 12 feet 0 inches.
Stage Floor
  • The stage is a natural hardwood sprung floor, with medium density overlay in wings. The orchestra pit cover is constructed of ¾ plywood.
  • The pit is normally covered and the producer must provide crew to remove and restore the pit cover if the pit is needed.
  • Additional charges apply for a full pit cover remove and re-install.
  • A full stage 30 feet x 40 feet Vario black/gray reversible dance floor is available.
  • The lessee may not drill, lag or screw into the stage floor. Any accidental holes, scrapes and scruffs must be repaired before the final load out.
Orchestra Pit
  • The curved front accommodates approximately 20 players.
  • The orchestra pit is 6 feet 0 inches deep. It is fully removable in three different dimensions. Fees for removal and reinstallation apply.
Dressing Rooms
  • There are seven rooms in total.
  • The green room measures 14 feet x 12 feet. It can be divided into two dressing rooms and two full washrooms with shower units.
  • The dressing room at the top of the stairs (facing stage right) measures 10 feet x 12 feet.
  • The next three dressing rooms measure 6 feet x 10 feet.
  • Upstairs, all four dressing rooms are equipped with sinks.
  • The last dressing room (facing stage left) measures 8 feet x 12 feet.

November 11, 1918 - The Strand opens as a movie and vaudeville palace. Two celebrations took place in the Uphams Corner community of Dorchester on Nov. 11, 1918: The Armistice was signed that day, ending World War I, and that night the Strand Theater swung open its doors to a grand first-night celebration.

Vaudeville was comedians, singers, plate-spinners, ventriloquists, dancers, musicians, acrobats, animal trainers, and more. Beginning in the 1880s and through the 1920s, vaudeville was the most popular form of entertainment in America, and an essential part of every community.


The Strand introduces "talkies" to audiences with a screening of Marx Brothers movies.


Strand Theatre 1930s

The Strand continues to run first-run films until 1969, when the theater closed its doors due to declining ticket sales.


The Strand is revived! Led by Dorchester resident Thomas McKenna, a group of neighborhood residents create a plan to salvage the theater. They incorporate as the M. Harriet McCormack Center for the Arts to refurbish and reopen the Strand.


The City of Boston takes over. With the support of the City of Boston, the federal Economic Development Administration, and Community Development Block Grant money, the Strand is renovated and the M. Harriet McCormack Center for the Arts signs a 25-year lease of the theater with the City of Boston for a dollar a year.


Performances come to the Strand. Performers include Tracey Chapman, BB King, Julius Hemphill (with Long Tongues: A Saxophone Opera), Boogie Down Productions, and Public Enemy.


More big names are featured at the Strand! Joe Perry (of Aerosmith), Till Tuesday, and New Kids On The Block all shoot videos at the Strand. Irish theater group Parnassus brings a production of the play Da by Hugh Leonard over from Dublin for a 3 night run in 1987.


Programs to serve the inner city youth are initiated. Strand Teen Players emerges as a model program teaching teens every facet of theater production, both creative and technical. Louis Farrakhan speaks at the Strand Jazz/Tap/Hip-Hop Festival sponsored by Dance Umbrella, features a young Savion Glover and the first American performance by the group STOMP.


Phish performs at the theatre in 1990, and in 1991, the theater lights a new marquee with a gala reception.


The Urban Nutcracker premieres at the Strand. Acclaimed jazz artist Boney James' tour takes on a Strand date, and Pro Arte Orchestra celebrates its 25th anniversary at the Strand with a special concert. LL Cool J plays the Strand, and Can a Woman Make a Man Lose His Mind continues an annual run of gospel play sell-outs.

2004 - 2013

Mayor Thomas M. Menino appoints a task force to help him set a new vision for the Strand Theatre.  Ruben Studdard and Frenchie Davis, of American Idol, come to the Strand with the Broadway musical Ain't Misbehavin'.

2013 – 2015

Fiddlehead Theatre took up residence at the Strand, performing:

  • A Little Princess
  • Aida
  • The Wiz
  • Jesus Christ Superstar
  • West Side Story
  • The Little Mermaid