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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.


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

543 Columbia Road
Boston, MA 02125
Contact:
Neighborhood:
Dorchester

Interested in projecting artwork onto the Strand? View our guidelines:

public projection guidelines

Features:
Auditorium / Theater
Stage / Theater

Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience

The Van Gogh event will be featured at the Strand Theatre from September 29, 2021, through February 27, 2022. 

Ticket information can be found on the Fever website. For additional questions, contact 646-849-6917 or email hello@feverup.com.

Exhibit hours
  • Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday: 9 a.m. - 9 p.m.
  • Saturday and Sunday: 9 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Van Gogh exhibit banner

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
melodi.greene@boston.gov

The Strand is ADA compliant with an elevator to all seat levels. All restrooms have been upgraded to include wheelchair accessibility and a baby changing pull down.

Photo of The Conservatory Lab Charter School performing at the Strand Theatre, courtesy of Alida Warn.
The Conservatory Lab Charter School performing at the Strand Theatre. (Photo courtesy of Alida Warn)

Booking Calendar

The Conservatory Lab Charter School performing at the Strand Theatre. (Photo courtesy of Alida Warn)

Plan your visit

Plan your visit
  • 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.
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  • 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. 
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  • On street parking is available on Columbia Road.
  • There is a free parking lot at the corner of Cushing Ave and Columbia Rd. Parking is first come first serve. T
  • here is another public parking lot on Ramsey Street  at the intersection of Dudley Street and Columbia Road, behind CVS Pharmacy.
A Family Affair Restaurant

554 Columbia Road

Boston Pizza and Grill

535 Columbia Road

Canton House

6 Hancock Street

Delicias Restaurant

149 Stoughton Street

Dora Taqueria

112 Stoughton Street

Dorchester Brewing Company

1250 Massachusetts Avenue

Dublin House

7 Stoughton Street

Home Run Cafe

1269 Massachusetts Avenue

Oasis Restaurant

33 Hancock Street

Picalonga Restaurant

744 Dudley Street

New York Fried Chicken and Pizza

531 Columbia Road

Singh's Roti Shop

692 Columbia Road

Terra Terra Restaurant

79 Hancock Street

Upham's House of Pizza

566 Columbia Road

More Strand information

Seating
  • The theater seats 1,381 - 1,414 people .based on optional seating
Orchestra
  • There are 292 seats in total, including two wheelchair seats and two chaperone seats. 16 seats are all-access at the end of the rows of stage left and right seats. 
Mezzanine
  • There are 414 seats in total. Six are wheelchair seats and six are chaperone seats.
Stage
  • The stage is wheelchair accessible.
  • 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.
Balcony
  • There are 296 seats in the lower balcony standard seating area, including four wheelchair seats and four chaperone seats.
  • There are 379 seats in the upper balcony seating area.

A lessee may choose to add additional seats based on an optional seating chart, which will decrease the number of wheelchair seats. This is to be discussed with Management prior to contracting.

Stage Floor
  • The stage is a natural hardwood floor, with a medium density overlay in the wings. The orchestra pit cover is constructed of ¾ plywood on a metal turn lock post.
  • The pit is covered for all productions and must be requested in advance for use. Additional fees apply.
  • A full stage 30 feet x 40 feet portable sprung floor with reversible black/gray marle is available upon request. Additional fees apply.
  • The lessee may not drill, lag or screw into the stage floor without prior permission. 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 and can be divided into two dressing rooms. It is the only dressing room that is wheelchair accessible, and includes a restroom with showers on each side that is ADA compliant.
  • 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.
Restrooms
  • There are public restrooms on the main level in the gallery space and on the second floor mezzanine level back lobby.
1918

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.

1930s

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

1938-1969

Strand Theatre 1930s

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

1970s

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.

1979

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.

1980s

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.

1985-1987

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.

1990s

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.

1991

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

2000's

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

Strand Teen Employment Program

The Brighter Boston Strand Teen Employment Program served Boston-area youth. The pilot program offered employment and training in technical theater and event production over the summer of 2020. 

Students worked alongside mentors to develop their skills in:

  • lighting, audio, and stage management, and
  • interfacing with professional artists, with an eye toward creating meaningful new productions.

This six-week program culminated in a series of capstone projects. The program allowed the students to make their own voices heard.

Learn more about Brighter Boston

Photo of teen participating in Brighter Boston - Strand Teen Employment Program
Photo courtesy of Dan Jentzen.
Photo of teen participating in Brighter Boston - Strand Teen Employment Program
Photo courtesy of Dan Jentzen.

The Conservatory Lab Charter School performing at the Strand Theatre. (Photo courtesy of Alida Warn)

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