by Celina Colby

On March 27, the Coolidge Corner Theatre officially opened the doors to its 14,000 sq. ft. expansion, which features two new theaters, a rooftop event space, and lots of educational tools. The much-anticipated expansion, designed by award-winning architectural firm Höweler + Yoon, will streamline Coolidge operations while maintaining the nostalgia and charm of the historic art deco theater.

“Since 1933, the Coolidge Corner Theatre has showcased great works of cinema and offered innovative programming to audiences of all ages, creating community and serving as a cultural and economic force for Brookline and Greater Boston,” says Katherine Tallman, executive director & CEO and Coolidge Co-Chair.

Many Coolidge theatergoers have memories of purchasing tickets from the outdoor ticket window and waiting outside in line in all kinds of weather for their film time. Though there’s a nostalgia for that, the new entryway in the rear of the building allows movie lovers to purchase tickets and concessions in one spot and wait inside for their showing time.

The historic lobby will remain unchanged, except that alcohol can be purchased at the primary concession stand rather than at the pop-up bar across from Moviehouse 1. The interior of that space will retain all its long loved art deco charm.

Our new expansion allows us to continue to serve and grow our audiences with more curated programming, increased educational and engagement programs, and a more welcoming, accessible experience for all,Tallman says.

In addition to the new lobby, the expansion houses the 145-seat Moviehouse 5 and the 53-seat Moviehouse 6. They are both styled similarly to the historic theaters, though with cushier seating and more advanced visual and audio equipment. A dedicated Education and Community Engagement Center allows the complex to host even more seminars, workshops, panels, and lectures.

The theater is fully up and running now, but on Saturday, April 6 they’ll host a Community Open House during which members of the neighborhood can come in and tour the expansion from 9 am-11 am.

This expansion was made possible due to community and organizational support over the past several years.

“The Coolidge is immensely grateful to the over 1,000 individuals, families, and foundations who have recognized the unique and indelible role the Coolidge plays in the community and who have contributed generously to ensure its vitality for generations to come,” commented Campaign for the Coolidge Co-Chair Michael Maynard.

The fundraising efforts that made this project possible speak to the crucial artistic impact.

The Coolidge has been a part of the Brookline neighborhood for many years.  The theater is one of the most important cultural institutions in town. In its new state it will continue to serve the community with the compassion, humor, and commitment to culture that it has for nearly a century.

“In a post-pandemic world where we seek to reconnect in person, the renewed Coolidge provides more spaces for meaningful collective experiences,” says Höweler + Yoon co-founder J. Meejin Yoon. This expansion opens up opportunities for visitors of all backgrounds to engage in the power of cinema and culture.”