Richey Suncoast Theatre - Atlas Obscura

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Richey Suncoast Theatre

This historic silent film-era theater is now a community playhouse with a chilling visitor. 

Sponsored by Florida’s Sports Coast

On September 4, 1925, the New Port Richey Press reported something exciting: a new motion picture theater would be built at the corner of Grand Boulevard and Nebraska Avenue. The $50,000 construction project would be “of ornate design and handsome of appearance” and have capacity for 500 guests. The design was inspired by Moorish architecture, complete with stucco walls and a golden dome. 

A year later, when the theater was complete, it was named after silent film star Thomas Meighan, who had adopted the area as his home.  

On July 1, 1926, the Meighan Theatre screened its first movie, The New Klondike, a silent film about a minor league baseball player who starts dabbling in real estate after getting cut from the team. (Though Meighan was the star of The New Klondike, he did not make an appearance at the premiere.) 

Sadly, this beautiful theater was a casualty of the Great Depression, closing down in the early 1930s. Over the next several decades, the theater changed hands several times and experienced many renovations.

The Richey Suncoast Theatre, as it’s known today, reopened in 1972 as a community playhouse. The first show in the reimagined theater was a production of Fiddler on the Roof

But notoriety isn’t reserved only for Meighan and other film stars in this theater. Seat BB1, located in the upper balcony, stage right, is said to be haunted by “Willard,” a patron who frequented the theater and favored the seat. Local nonprofit Paranormal Kicks Cancer leads regular ghost hunts at the theater, and many guests have experienced the chilling vibes of apparitions and other ghostly encounters.

Know Before You Go

The theater offers a year-round theater series, stand-up comedy shows, vintage movie screenings, and more.

Sponsored by Florida’s Sports Coast

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