Located in the heart of historic Manchester, New Hampshire, 23 Amherst Street will serve as the permanent home of Old Sol Music Hall upon its opening in 2018, however, it is more than just another facade in the Queen City's industrial landscape, instead it comes with a lengthy past.
Built in the early 20th century to house a large scale printing press for a Québécois newspaper, the nearly 10,000 square foot building has been a longtime resident of Manchester's downtown. Even during its infancy, 23 Amherst Street played an integral role in the community, providing Manchester's historically French-Canadian population with news and important information from Canada before being transformed into a space for entertainment.
Following the removal of the printing press, 23 Amherst Street was later repurposed to become a place for the pictures. To play a critical role in America's craze for film in a post-depression society, The Rex Theatre opened as a movie house on May 30, 1940 at 23 Amherst. After twenty-two years of operation, the Rex Theater was later renamed King Cinema in 1962.
By 1980, King Cinema closed and made way for yet another theater with the opening of The Movies. Despite its near half-century run, a cinema at 23 Amherst Street no longer became viable. The city was changing and its locals sought a different variety of nightlife in downtown Manchester.
Years later, 23 Amherst was once more repurposed, but this time into a series of nightclubs. First, the Queen City saw the opening of Spider’s Web, then Club Liquid and, lastly, Club Realm, which eventually closed in 2014.
After sitting idle on the market for over two years, the Manchester Development Corporation (MDC) purchased the building on behalf of the City of Manchester, wanting to revive 23 Amherst Street. The MDC operates under the eye of the city’s Mayor and Board of Alderman, along with the Economic Development Office as a means of expanding local business relations along with retaining and attracting community members within Manchester.
In line with its mission, the MDC expressed its desire to breathe life into the abandoned building. By February of 2016, the MDC began accepting proposals for 23 Amherst, to transform it into a venue to be used for live music, theater, film, community events and other creative concepts, in attempts to further its work in revitalizing and improving downtown Manchester, New Hampshire.
In March of 2016, Old Sol Productions, LLC submitted its proposal to the MDC to restore, renovate, and reopen the historic Rex Theatre at 23 Amherst Street, as a multi-purpose performance venue and community space. Old Sol Music Hall’s ambitions for the building and Manchester were warmly welcomed by the MDC and is slated to open within the walls of the historic Rex Theatre at 23 Amherst Street in 2018.
Supporting Old Sol Music Hall is more than a donation to the venue and our day-to-day operations, but will go toward developing Manchester's art culture through positive community and environmental engagement. We believe that cultivating the arts will allow us to strengthen our community and your support can help us achieve that goal.