Columbus Theatre - Providence
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the city’s reigning cool music venue” – Travel & Leisure

“Berberian can now be found watching sold-out folk shows with a bewildered fatherly pride. As the actor John C. Reilly, who has played the Columbus with his band, John Reilly and Friends, explained in an email, having musicians run a concert hall is “sort of like the inmates running the asylum. In a good way . . . A very pleasant change of pace from the usual disgruntled-roadie and sketchy-promoter vibe of many rock venues.” One night he played, the actor Joaquin Phoenix was among the revelers who hung around after the show. “We listened to records, had some refreshments, looked at a giant oscillating moth sculpture in the dark and composed free jazz poems while accompanied on upright bass,” Reilly wrote. “You know, the usual Providence stuff.” – New York Times T Magazine

a beloved space for unique and inspired musicmakers, from mega-string bands (Mother Falcon) to deep-voiced savants (Bill Callahan) to soul shouters (Charles Bradley).” – Providence Phoenix, “Best Folk Venue 2014”

The Columbus Cooperative sure knows what it’s doing. Charged last year with keeping the upstairs space at the historic Columbus Theatre booked and rocking, the Cooperative has made very, very good on that promise. It lures national indie artists to the stage, but also keeps local musicians in rotation and up on the marquee. And for the folks who are there to truly see, hear and experience the music, the 200-seat venue is about as intimate as it gets.” – Rhode Island Monthly, “Best New Music Hotspot 2013”

The Columbus Theatre was designed by architect Oreste DiSaia and built by realtor Domenic Annotti in 1926. The Theatre originally featured vaudeville and silent films before being leased by RKO Albee Theater, who renamed the building the Uptown Theater and operated it as one of Providence’s premier cinemas for the next 25 years. With the advent of television the Theatre fell on hard times, but builder Misak Berberian, whose love of architecture drew him to the Theatre, purchased it in the summer of 1962. He revived the Theater’s original name and installed his son Jon at the helm. After extensive repairs, the Berberians reopened the Theatre on November 1, 1962 – the 36th anniversary of the building’s original opening.

After more than four decades of operation—which included music, film, and theatre presentations, as well as serving community groups from throughout Rhode Island with a beautiful venue for their programs—the Theatre was forced to close again in 2009 because of fire code updates. Since that time, Jon Berberian has worked tirelessly to meet those requirements for the Theatre, which reopened its doors November 17, 2012 and has once again become a beautiful and valued asset to the community.


Formed in summer 2012, the Columbus Cooperative comprises members of the music, design, nonprofit, and hospitality industries. Working on a volunteer basis alongside the Theatre’s ownership, the Cooperative works to reinvigorate both the Theatre and the West End community by programming a range of unique live events in an unequaled space. The Cooperative is Ben Knox Miller, Bryan Minto, Jeff Prystowsky, and Tom Weyman. For more information, email