The old Empress Theatre, located on Sherbrooke Street W, corner Marcil, in NDG. Photo taken April 27th, 2008.
Built in 1927 the Egyptian-style building began its life as a vaudeville theatre, and then, in 1962 was re-incarnated as a burlesque dinner theatre called the Royal Follies. In 1968, it became known as Cinema V, and in the ’70s switched to a repertory movie house and home of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. A fire in 1992 damaged the theatre and it has been closed ever since.
The Empress Cultural Centre aims to give the building new life as a cultural centre and performance space, something that most NDG residents (myself included) feel is lacking from the ‘hood. The final plans include a café/art gallery, and in partnership with the McGill University Conservatory of Music, a 246-person concert hall. The project will cost $6-8 million, which you can apparently help offset by purchasing their “special Empress chocolate truffles” at the head office (the door to the left/East of the building) and at other NDG businesses.