As the 20th century bloomed, cities and towns throughout New Hampshire started developing municipal centers. City Halls sprung up across the state, and many included adjacent or interior theatres called “Opera Houses” in the fashion of the time. Concord already had an Opera House, the privately-owned White’s Opera House at Main and Park Streets, so our city’s new theatre was named the Concord City Auditorium and popularly called “The Audi”.
Development of the Auditorium was challenged in court by Mr. White, worried about the impact another theatre would have on his own. Fortunately, the city prevailed and built the Audi. It’s a good thing, for White’s Opera House was destroyed by fire in the 1920s.
The Concord Audi opened to great local fanfare in November 1904, the Audi has served ever since as the home of the Capital Area’s community-based arts and entertainment. There are several traditional presenters and new shows book the theatre every year. The Walker Lecture Fund has presented free programs, lectures and concerts and shows, since the earliest schedule, even bringing the first motion pictures to New Hampshire. The Community Players of Concord have graced the stage since 1927, Concord Community Concerts since 1930, dance recitals since 1944, and barbershop festivals since 1950.
“The Audi” is the Arts Park of the City of Concord, and hosts over 100 events attended by over 75,000 people each season.
The theatre is owned by the City – and its citizens – and managed by the Parks and Recreation Department at the City-Wide Community Center at 14 Canterbury Rd. The theatre and the reception lobby may be rented by all who meet the contact requirements which are posted online at www.concordnh.gov/audi.