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Columbus Theatre to reopen

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PROVIDENCE – Columbus Theatre, the historic downtown theater shuttered in August 2009 for a number of building and fire code violations, will reopen next month with an all-ages celebration.

The Columbus Cooperative, a volunteer organization that has worked with theater owner Jon Berberian, announced Tuesday that Revilal! will take place Nov. 17 at the theater on Broadway with local bands performing at the Columbus Main Stage and at Columbus Upstairs, the theater’s balcony room.

“I am very excited to be able to open the Columbus Theatre once again,” Berberian said in a statement. “The community has been very supportive and patient during our efforts to restore and update the building, and I look forward to this chance to give back to those who have been waiting a long time for our doors to open.”

The theater was built in 1926 and originally featured vaudeville performances and silent films before it was renamed as the Uptown Theater and operated as a movie cinema.

Berberian has owned the theater since 1962, when his father purchased it for him and his wife Betty who at the time were both opera singers with the Metropolitan Opera in New York. The theater then featured music, film and theatre presentations and housed the Rhode Island International Film Festival from 2000 to 2009 and was placed on the Providence Preservation Society’s 2011 Ten Most Endangered Properties list.

The reopening celebration, which will include beer from the Revival Brewing Company, will feature the first Providence performance by The Low Anthem, which has been using the theatre as a practice and recording space since last November, in more than a year.

Tickets for the opening are $20 and half of profits will benefit Artraves, a Providence-based nonprofit that works on education, health and development in Nicaragua.

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