Queen Theater

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The Queen Theater, or New Queen Theater, was a Vaudeville house and cinema for African-American audiences located at 212 18th Street North on Block 88 in downtown Birmingham's 4th Avenue Historic District.

In the 1910s the Queen became known for its bawdy "barrel house" acts. It also presented early blues singers, including a late career engagement by Hambone Jones and Virginia Liston in June 1915, a blockbuster performance by Bessie Smith in 1916, and a three-week holiday residency for Ma Rainey in December 1917-January 1918.

In 1919 the "New Queen" advertised "high class colored" Vaudeville and first-run pictures running continuously every day from noon to 11:00 PM. Acts changed every Monday and picture programs changed on Mondays and Thursdays. In 1920 manager C. W. Williams left the Queen to reopen the Tuxedo Theater.

Under the management of J. Elson, with the assistance of Billy Chambers, the venue reformed its bill in the early 1920s and presented only "clean" acts.


  • Violet, Arthur (October 20, 1917) "New Queen Theater, Birmingham, Ala." Indianapolis Freeman
  • "List of Colored Theaters and Attractions." (August 6, 1921) The Billboard
  • "Colored Theaters in Birmingham, Ala." (December 16, 1922) The Billboard

Category;18th Street North