CRANSTON — After nearly two years of closure, a new beginning for the Park Theatre is on the horizon.
The theater, which has been a Cranston fixture for almost a century, has been shuttered since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. But now Dig in Dining and Entertainment owners Ed Brady and Jeff Quinlan plan to reopen the theater as space for movie showings, live performances and food.
Speaking to an audience gathered across from the theater on Tuesday morning, Brady said that the site at 848 Park Ave. will host local and national acts, comedy shows, classic and new movie releases, and include a dining space.
Several representatives and business leaders attended the event, including Gov. Daniel J. McKee; Cranston Mayor Kenneth J. Hopkins; Ocean State Coalition Executive Director Rick Simone; R.I. Film & TV Office Executive Director Steven Feinberg; and Jimmy Burchfield Sr., owner of CES Classic Entertainment and Sports.
The reopening of the historic theater is “the final piece of the puzzle” for the Park Avenue neighborhood’s revitalization, Hopkins told the audience.
Also speaking at the event, McKee said that the reopened venue will serve as a draw to Cranston and contribute to a stronger overall state economy.
“Bringing people back to this venue will be good for the entire neighborhood,” McKee said, touting the state’s strong vaccination rates for allowing performance venues to reopen.
While capital funding has contributed to other efforts in the neighborhood, Hopkins said, the theater’s revitalization is a private effort by Dig in Dining.
The Dig In Dining restaurant group also owns Thirsty Beaver Pub & Grub in Smithfield, Cranston and Wrentham, Mass., Huck’s Filling Station in East Greenwich, and Newport Lemonade.
Officials did not give a timeline for the theater’s reopening, though Feinberg, however, expressed hopes to have the theater up and running in time for a screening of “Hocus Pocus 2,” which was filmed in Rhode Island and is slated for a release around Halloween.
Jacquelyn Voghel is a PBN staff writer. Contact her at Voghel@PBN.com.