The Troy Street Observer

Nov 23, 1979: Showtime Again at Dorchester’s Strand Theatre

Uphams Corner in Dorchester was historically a busy commercial area, located at the intersection of Columbia Ave and Dudley Street, and served by a half-dozen trolley lines. For entertainment, it boasted the 1400-seat Strand Theatre, in its early days a vaudeville house and later a movie palace.

Photo of Strand Theatre
The Strand Theatre in Uphams Corner. It now has a new marquee.

The postwar years were not kind to Uphams Corner, as the trolleys stopped running, people moved out, and businesses closed. The Strand hung on until 1969. Then it went dark and became one more abandoned building in a neighborhood in decline.

In the mid-1970s, some Uphams Corner neighbors battled back, and organized to renovate and reopen the Strand—not as a movie house, but as a performing arts center. Supported almost entirely by government grants, the M. Harriet McCormack Center for the Arts achieved this goal and celebrated with a gala opening on November 23, 1979. The Count Basie Orchestra performed at the inaugural concert.

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