History of The Flying Monkey
The Plymouth Theater has been at the heart of the cultural and social life of historic Plymouth, New Hampshire since it was originally built back in the 1920’s. In its hey day, the “New Plymouth Theater” attracted sold out audiences for some of Hollywood’s finest classic cinematic productions, dating back to the the era of the silent movie.
As technology evolved in the 1930’s, newspaper and billboard advertisements of the times invited patrons to enjoy a state-of-the-art facility, boasting such extraordinary modern amenities as the “only Western Electric Mirrophonic Sound System” in the region, “air-cooling” and an inclined floor, with 700 comfortable upholstered seats… all at a 25 cent admission price! It was a different era.
“The four mad Marx Brothers make lunacy a national pleasure,” read one 1933 playbill for the theater. Patrons were invited to “Dunk your funny-bone in this giggle soup… and prepare for the grandest, goofiest musical fun fest you’ve ever seen!”
Television hadn’t been invented yet, and Fox Movie Tone News was a major source of information for regular theater goers. As World War II raged on in Europe, most locals received their weekly updates from the newsreels they saw before the latest movie release.
The theater was just about the only game in town when it came to inexpensive, family friendly entertainment. The ever-entrepreneurial Theater Manager, Sherb Graves, made a point of providing opportunities for family fun, including Saturday night events for kids (usually a western) and even offering free horror movies after the annual Halloween parade in downtown Plymouth (still a local tradition).
Today, television, podcasts, video games and the internet clamor for our attention and bombard us with all kinds of information and entertainment options. But here at the Flying Monkey, we still feel that there is nothing like sharing the experience of a great performance with family, friends and neighbors. It is the kind of thing that brings us all together again. Just like the good old days…
In 2010, after the defunct, silent, and empty Plymouth Theater had fallen into disuse, The Common Man’s founder and visionary, Alex Ray, made the bold decision to turn things around–for the theater and for the community. With intense sensitivity and a deep understanding of the historical and social value that the movie house holds for so many, he purchased the building and began a project of extensive renovation, ultimately restoring the Main theater to what it once was in its glory… and more! Renaming the theater the Flying Monkey Movie House and Performance Center, (after a certain popular role he had played in a local community theater production) Ray began the ambitious project of bringing new life and a sense of vitality and excitement back to the former movie house.
Now, we invite you to “tune in” to what’s happening at “the Monkey” on a regular basis, from movies, to live performances, from comedy, to dance and even kids’ programming and local community theater. Experience the unique, and in some ways “old fashioned” pleasure of enjoying dinner and a show, with family and friends. Share an experience with your neighbors and community members. Create a memory that will last a lifetime!
Today the Flying Monkey is attracting audiences from all around New England and beyond for sold-out performances featuring some of the hottest contemporary musical and comedy acts–live and in person, up close and personal, right here on stage in our intimate performance hall at the heart of this small town of Plymouth, NH.
Once again the old Plymouth Theater is bringing the latest, hottest and very best of entertainment to town for everyone to enjoy. From folk, blues and rock music, films and art exhibits, to children’s programs and community theater, “there is always something happening” in downtown Plymouth!