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Greater Tulsa Reporter

Kudos of the Month: Circle Cinema

Circle Cinema, located at 10 S. Lewis Ave. in the Kendall-Whittier district, is celebrating its 90th year in operation, having outlasted former Tulsa movie theaters the Orpheum, Ritz, Majestic, Rialto, Delman, Will Rogers and others.

Established on July 15, 1928, Circle Cinema was a true neighborhood movie house, with kids and families lined up to see the latest silent films, serials and cartoons. Its location on Lewis Avenue just south of Admiral Boulevard put it on the original Route 66 alignment as it traveled through Tulsa thru 1932.

In March of 1983, Circle was featured in the now classic film “The Outsiders,” based on the popular book by Tulsa author S.E. Hinton. And by the late 1980s, a Whittier Square revitalization effort began with assistance from the city of Tulsa. 

The theatre went dark for almost a decade in the mid-1990s only to come back to life as The Circle Cinema Foundation, a nonprofit organization in December 2002, with plans to restore and reopen it as an arthouse cinema with a mission to create community consciousness through film.

By July 2014, Circle Cinema celebrated the completion of its building project with four movie auditoriums, a gallery space, and even repurchased the original 1928 Robert Morton Theatre pipe organ which was refurbished and upgraded and used once again.

In November 2015, the Kendall-Whittier district became a Certified Cultural District by the Oklahoma Arts Council and in May 2016 was named the Oklahoma Main Street Business of The Year. The award stated, “Circle Cinema is a beloved icon, gathering place, cultural institution, date-night mainstay and hub of activity for not only Kendall-Whittier but the entire Tulsa metro area.” 

This July, Circle Cinema Film festival will make its debut during the 90th birthday celebration complete with movie premieres, special guests, receptions, silent classics, and more. Visit the Circle at 

Updated 06-21-2018

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