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‘Let’s hope this is the start of something big’: Long-shuttered Hyde Park theater gets new roof

Interior of the Everett Square Theatre in Hyde Park, photographed in 2011.
Interior of the Everett Square Theatre in Hyde Park, photographed in 2011.(Globe Staff/File)

The raccoons have been evicted, and the unintentional skylight is being patched up.

There's much more to be done and nothing is set in stone for its future, but recent construction on the long-shuttered Everett Square Theatre is offering a glimmer of hope to those who have envisioned for years its eventual revitalization.

Pat Tierney, owner of the performance space that closed its doors in the 1980s — it has remained dormant ever since — said work is underway to fix the deteriorated roof of the historic Hyde Park theater, which had a gaping hole after a tree crashed down during a storm years ago.

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"Any part that was leaking was or is being repaired and/or new roofing installed," Tierney said in an e-mail to the Globe. "Most of it is done. . . . No more raccoons living up there."

The theater on Fairmount Avenue first opened in 1915 and hosted live performances and showed silent films, according to Globe archives. The space later became a movie theater called the Nu-Pixie Cinema, before it was eventually turned into an auction house and then finally closed.

In the decades since it stopped serving patrons, there have been pushes to do something with the building.

Historic Boston Incorporated, a nonprofit, worked with Tierney in 2011 to install a replica of the illuminated "Everett Square Theatre" sign that once hung over the entryway. They also restored the theater's lobby, creating a new space for temporary art installations.

The move was meant to "build support for its eventual rehabilitation," according to the organization, something that never came to fruition.

Tierney said the high cost of fixing the damaged roof, which let in the elements and unwelcome critters, had always been one of the biggest obstacles to moving ahead with that goal.

"The roof was the one issue that prevented me from putting a plan together," she said. "The theater was becoming more decayed and not safe to roam through."

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Then, last year, Tierney's hope was renewed, after a group of Boston College students put together a viable proposal, as part of a class project, about how to rehabilitate the decaying theater.

With guidance from Edward Chazen, a senior lecturer at the college's Carroll School of Management, and help from City Councilor Tim McCarthy, whose district includes Hyde Park, the undergraduates compiled a 54-page report in May of last year. They then presented it to Tierney and community stakeholders.

"The BC project was definitely a new look and first time I saw on paper the process and what needed to be done," Tierney said.

Shortly after, Tierney said a substantial amount of money was donated to the theater and a friend of her late husband "stepped to the plate" to take on the roof construction at a discount.

"Although this is not a total green light, it is the beginning of brainstorming, reviewing the plan, and thinking outside the box," she said. "It has definitely created new joy and hope for me."

On Tuesday, the Tierney Realty Group shared a picture of the roof repairs to Twitter.

"Soon we can start following the @BostonCollege plan," the company said.

McCarthy, the city councilor who helped students make connections for their project, responded with enthusiasm.

"Let's Do THIS!!!" tweeted McCarthy, who went to the theater as a kid.

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Tierney said she's considering working with a for-profit venture on a few different scenarios moving forward, but said if that's the avenue she pursues, it would come with a catch.

"My only definite requirement is that there will always be a performance component," she said. "So, let's hope this is the start of something big!"


Steve Annear can be reached at steve.annear@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.