The Chomedy theatre more commonly known as the Seville theatre was the 14th theatre of the United amusement Chain. This 1150 seat sound picture theater located on 1255 St. Catherine Street West was designed by M Cajetan Dufort who also designed the corona theatre in St Henri and also by the DJ Crighton and Crighton company, it opened in 1929 after being built by Bremmer-Norris. Like the York theatre, the Seville was built with shops, on each side of the main entrance, The Séville Ice Cream Parlour on the right and a drugstore on the left .
This was the first theatre in its kind, it had a fake open sky ceiling composed of a painted sky with stars that was attached to a mechanism that turned the painted sky to give the impression that the clouds were moving above the theatre. This was the first of the only three theaters to have this type of open sky ceiling, the other theatres that had this were the Monkland and the Granada . The interior was designed by Emmanuel Briffa who used a spanish theme, but this first interior design only lasted 20 years, the walls were removed and reconstructed in 1950 possibly due to fire damage.The majority the decorations were thrown in the garbage but about a truck load of these decorations were salvaged and given to the “Premonstratensian Canons” monastery of St-Bernard-de-Lacolle. Some decorations included: plaster dragon heads with open mouths and extended tongues,large plaster Spanish-style floor lamps. These were stored at the monastery then thrown out when they moved. Some items are still existant : red-velvet drapes were used for upholstery, a carved oak Medieaval-style bench and a picture of jesus bearing his cross in a elaborate gilt frame is now in the entrance of the Premonstratensians new chapel in St-Constant. The Seville was then remodeled by Oscar Glas, who used pastel colours and plain walls.
In the 1940’s the Seville stopped showing motion pictures and became a concert Hall. It served for 6 or 8 years as the leading pop music venue in the cityI and also had live stage shows, dance teams, comics and mimics who went onstage to entertain the audience. Many known artists played shows:The bell sisters, Tony Bennett, Billy Daniels, Nat King Cole, Peggy Lee, Johnnie Ray, The Four Lads and The Four Aces, Harry Belafonte, Sarah Vaughan, Frankie Lymon and Connie Francis.
Around the 60’s the Seville reverted to movies, this was due because the Forum started to feature high capacity live rock shows. From 1965 to 1967, The sound of music went into repertoire. A few years later in the 70’s the United Amusement Chain sold the Seville and it became a second run house, showing the Rocky Horror Picture Show and Earthquake.
With the advent of mega complex cinemas, business was low, in 1984 the theatre closed it’s door to the public, David Stein bought the theatre in 1985 but only to board it up. In 1990 the theatre was declared a historic monument by the city of montreal, but it did not help, the building continued to gradually decay, the interior was gutted, the marquee was removed and the east wall collapsed. In 2001, this location caught the eye of Stephen Bronfman who offered plans to convert the block into a residential and commercial complex. The project consisted of including rooftop gardens, bamboo flooring and indoor composting , etc… In 2002 Stephen bronfman and his company paid about 12.5 million dollars to acquire this street corner. The project was then “mothballed.” Since then Heritage montreal has been putting alot of pressure on the owner to do something about this.
At some point someone called this place home.
View of the proscenium wall, smoke pockets and pipes.