Located in the heart of Newtown, the historic Newtown Theatre is the center of entertainment in its community. Young and old alike enjoy the convenience of seeing movies, live theater, concerts, comedy, and more—right around the corner, in a charming 300-seat theatre.
The Newtown Theatre has an extensive history dating back to 1831. Originally built as a hall for town gatherings and a non-sectarian church for traveling ministers, it soon became a center of entertainment in Newtown.
By the early 1850s, “Newtown Hall” (as it was then called) was used regularly for performances. These ranged from social dances and concerts to theatrical productions and magic lantern shows. In 1883, the building was reconstructed, larger than the first, and designed with stage performances in mind.
In 1906 the first movie was shown, making it the oldest movie theater in the United States. In 1936, the interior of the building was redone and new equipment was purchased to enhance the movie-going experience. With the coming of television and modern movies, Newtown Hall movies were becoming outdated. Rescued in 1953 by the Newtown Community Welfare Council, which now serves as the theatre’s trustee, the beloved landmark survives complete with the flavor of a bygone era.
In 1972, Amos Farruggio, a movie buff and licensed projectionist, rented the hall from the Community Welfare Council, spruced it up and kept the theatre alive until his death. The theatre was then ably run by his wife until her death in 2005.
The theatre had air conditioning installed in 2002 for the premier of M. Night Shyamalan’s “Signs,” which was partially filmed in Newtown.
In 2014, the theatre installed a new digital projection system, which will allow it to keep showing movies far into the future.