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The History of the Exeter Street Theatre

- Boston, Massachusetts -

The Exeter Street Theatre was located at the corner of Newbury and Exeter Streets, in Boston, Massachusetts. She became famous, worldwide, and was referred to as the Grand Dame of Boston Theaters.

It closed its doors quietly in 1974, with no fanfare, under the direction of Viola and Florence Berlin. It was believed that this grand institution should fade away with dignity. That it did, and we have been quiet for many years.


A pen and ink original newspaper advertisement.

Did you know that the Exeter Street Theatre was owned, operated, and managed by the First Spiritual Temple, now in Brookline, Massachusetts? Did you ever attended a lecture in the lower auditorium?


Viola Berlin in her office at the F.S.T./ Exeter Theatre.

The history of the Exeter Street Theatre has been kept quiet since 1974. Because so many have claimed to know the history of the Theatre and have been so inaccurate in their proclamation, we decided to speak out, so that everyone will know her true and miraculous story. Thus, true memories can live on!

Many people seem to think that those who operated the Exeter Street Theatre are separated by many years from those of us at the First Spiritual Temple, today. That is not true. We of the current day had many years of experience with the Theatre, working and managing the theater, itself, and working with the Berlin sisters.

There is no one who knows the authentic history of the Exeter Street Theatre except for our Church historian, Rev. Stephen Fulton. He not only served the Church, itself, but worked, for many years, as the Theatre's chief projectionist. His research during that period and during the period in which the Church relocated from Exeter Street, Boston, to our current location, in Brookline, has given him this distinct advantage.

If you, yourself, are not familiar with the Exeter Street Theatre, but you or your family grew up anywhere in the Greater Boston area, then, chances are, your parents or grandparents can tell you the wonderful stories of the old Exeter Street Theatre --Just ask them!

It was a theater where people did not call to see WHAT movie was playing, but called only to determine if the movie had changed. People never questioned the movies at the old Exeter; they knew they were always great choices.


John "Draper" Evans, a dedicated employee at work.

As time goes on, this portion of our web site will have pictures and historical information on the old Exeter Theatre. We have asked a few people to write articles expressing their involvement with the Theatre over many years of service.

The association of the First Spiritual Temple to the Exeter Street Theatre creates a fascinatingly wonderful history. So many people have such wonderful stories to share about their days at the Exeter Street Theatre. We plan to create a section for you to share your memories.

If you would like to send us stories and memories that you have of the old Grand Dame of Boston Theaters, once known as the Exeter Street Theatre, we will start preparing them. Please e-mail them directly to Rev. Stephen Fulton.

So, if you would please purchase your tickets at the box office, the line forms outside, around the corner, on Newbury Street; for ticket holders only. And please remember, we do not sell popcorn or soft drinks. Did you know that when the Exeter Street Theatre reopened, under new management, the very fact that popcorn was sold created a grand fanfare in the local newspapers? How times have changed! Looking forward to sharing with you.

Rev. Stephen Fulton,
Church Historian,
First Spiritual Temple


© 2001 First Spiritual Temple. All rights reserved.
Reproduction or reuse of any pages without written permission is strictly prohibited.

First Spiritual Temple
The Ayer Institute
16 Monmouth Street, Brookline, MA, 02446-5605 USA
Telephone 617 566-7639
E-mail to the FST