Bluebird Theater (Denver, Colorado)

The Bluebird Theater

The 1914 Bluebird Theater in Colorado opened as the first Denver theater designed specifically for the exhibition of movies. The theater was opened in 1914 as Thompson Theater, named for a well known Denver grocer and druggist, John Thompson. The theater struggled for its first few years and it was renamed the Bluebird Theater in 1922. Around this same time it started to become a more prominent part of the community.

Designed by prominent Denver architect Harry W.J. Edbrooke, the theater was the first of what at the time was novel but quickly became the entertainment of choice for many, not just in Denver but around throughout the United States.

In the early 1960’s it began showing art films, but in the late 60s and 70s they started to rely on blue films for the income. The Bluebird was at this time part of a small group of theaters in Denver that during the 60s and 70s showed pornographic films. The other theaters were the Gothic, Kitty’s, the Victory, and the Vogue. These theaters were all the targets of government censorship and public protest.

Since reopening after a seven year closure in 1994, the Bluebird has been a venue for live music featuring local and national bands. Though it was initially a movie house, the theater has undergone several phases over the years.  Despite all of the changes to the theater its original layout with tiered balconies overlooking the venue has changed very little.

Bluebird Theater Facts

  • When first opened in 1914, the Bluebird was a neighborhood movie theater.
  • From 1974-1987, the Bluebird showed pornographic movies.
  • Street address for the Blubird Theater is 1315 E. Colfax Ave. Denver, Colorado.
  • In 2006, AEG Live took over the Bluebird Theater and made important and costly upgrades to the production aspects of the room.
  • The Bluebird Theater was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1997.