Architectural & Cultural Significance

Delivering world-class performances is certainly a top priority at The Hanover Theatre. Yet as stewards of a historic venue, ongoing preservation and maintenance is a constant area of focus for our Board of Directors and staff. It was a primary motivation behind our previous Securing the Future Capital Campaign that had an aim to protect this architectural gem for future generations.

Our concierge and ushers will attest to the fact that many first time visitors marvel at the beauty of our theatre and want to know more about its past. Its beauty is integral to the theatergoing experience and we know that the decisions we make today to secure its future are critical to our long term success as a premier cultural institution.

We are reminded of the theatre's historical importance when we read architectural historian Susan Ceccacci's findings, outlined in the Registry of Historic Places criteria submitted in preparation for the building's last restoration project:

The theatre's large size is a reflection of a period of great prosperity and population growth in Worcester. But even more specifically, it recalls an important period in American history when the general public typically went to see vaudeville/moving picture shows several times a week.

Poli's is Worcester's oldest and finest vaudeville and motion picture theatre of the large and elaborate type built across the United States during the nation's theatre-building heyday of the 1910's and 1920's. It is architecturally significant as the most deluxe example of its type and period in the city. No other Worcester theatre of this period, or of the "palace" theatre type, is of the same high level of architectural quality or is finished throughout with such high quality materials.

The theatre is also significant as an example of the work of the internationally known theatre architect, Thomas Lamb. Despite the alterations that have been made here, the surviving portions of the interior are characteristic of his work. They are beautiful for their sense of space, proportions, lines, detailing, and material. Furthermore they still possess the power to evoke emotion and to make the visitor feel that he is a participant in the spectacle that is the architecture. The interior of this theatre still remains an impressive example of the important role architecture played in the early 20th century popular entertainment.

 

Downloadable brochure on the history of The Hanover Theatre "From Poli's Palace to The Hanover Theatre"

 

About theatre architect Thomas Lamb:

Thomas Lamb became one of the most sought-after designers of vaudeville theatres and movie palaces in the country during their heyday in the 1910's and 1920's. He was responsible for at least 300 theatres in North America and designed many of the largest. Among his best known theatres are the 2,500 seat Opera House in Boston, the 5,300 seat Capitol Theatre in NYC, the Loew's Midland Theatre in Kansas City and the San Francisco Fox Theatre.

 

National & Regional Recognitions:

  • 2014 Pollstar ranks The Hanover Theatre #12 worldwide for attendance and ticket sales
  • 2012 Pollstar ranks The Hanover Theatre #33 worldwide for attendance and ticket sales
  • 2011 National Registry of Historic Places
  • 2010 National Trust for Historic Preservation Excellence Award
  • 2010 American Institute of Architects Design Award
  • 2009 MassEcon Economic Impact Award
  • 2008 Timothy J. Anderson Award for Historic Rehabilitation

 

"The Hanover Theatre has brought vibrancy and energy to Worcester since its opening in March of 2008. It has played host to world-class cultural entertainment and attracted hundreds of thousands of people into Worcester. The architectural significance of the theatre is undeniable and must be treasured and supported. UniBank is pleased to play a role in the preservation of The Hanover Theatre so it will remain among the city's cultural driving forces."

- James Paulhus
President of UniBank