versatile vintage theater seats

First of all, is it theater or theatre?  I have always been compelled to write theatre but it turns out the American English spelling is theater.  What is your preference?

My preference is most certainly vintage but we already knew that!  I’ve mentioned my unofficial conquest list of must-finds which is always changing.  However, vintage theater seats have always ranked high on the list.  A few weeks ago I was able to mark it off because I found them!

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They’re an attached pair of wood and metal seats that fold up.  Not just the seat bottoms fold but the chair legs collapse like a folding chair allowing the pair to flatten for storage purposes.  That function leads me to believe that these were part of a venue where the seating configuration would change frequently.  The chairs were never permanent fixtures and as a result the set is not too heavy.

A coat of hemp oil brought the wood back to life and really makes them shine again.  This set is available for sale at The West End Garage.

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There are a number of places in the home that I can think to style vintage theater seats.  I’ve compiled a list to get your wheels turning!  (Please pin from original source by clicking photo.)


theater seats entry

theater entry

AT Theater

Dining Room

theater dining

theater chairs dining


theater chairs kitchen

Theater Kitchen


Theater seats bedroom


Which is your favorite room showcasing theater seats?

freud and antiques at the arden theatre

Good morning!  For the last couple of years, I have been on a committee for “The Scene” at Arden Theatre in the old city section of Philadelphia.  “The Scene” is an event where professionals get together for an hour of networking, mingling, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres before select performances at a reduced ticket price.  The party continues with the cast at a local hotspot.

It is really a great time and I’ve decided to share this little extra curricular of mine today because I thought you may have an interest in the current production.

Plus, I’m giving away a FREE pair of tickets!

First let me tell you about the show and why you’ll want to see it…

On the day England enters World War II, Sigmund Freud invites a young C.S. Lewis to his London flat. Here, the father of modern psychology challenges a little known professor on the brink of literary fame. Freud’s Last Session imagines a collision of these two brilliant minds over love, God, and life.

The entire set is filled with artifacts and antiques to replicate Freud’s actual study which is now The Freud Museum in London.  You can read more about how the set evolved on the Arden’s blog.  Here’s a picture of the actual set as it looks today.


There are over 200 “artifacts” on the stage of Freud’s Last Session at the Arden. Of those, 18 are from the Penn Museum. The largest bulk of the remaining artifacts were donated by members of the Arden’s Sylvan Society.  However, that still didn’t complete the set so the props team had to do a little antiquing and DIYing of their own.

Is it just me or did you too always wonder how theater sets evolved?  I’ve learned that it can be quite similar to staging the rooms in your own home.  These professionals are creative and on a budget so they start by shopping their own stock.  Chris Haig, the Prop Master at Arden Theatre, shared a few of the behind the scenes secrets on how the set of Freud’s Last Session evolved.   

Two items specifically mentioned in the script and picked up by the characters needed to be built from scratch as finding them online or elsewhere proved impossible or too costly according to Chris. They are the Eros statue and the mummy bandages with markings from the Book of the Dead.

The replica Eros statue was modeled out of clay and painted to look like terra cotta.  The leg and hands were broke off just as Freud’s statue had been.

To create the mummy bandage, Chris’s team cut a muslin strip into a 4” width, aged them with a wash of brown paint and distressed them with darker brown tones along the frayed edges. It was also necessary to give them “embalming fluid stains” with watered down yellow paint as this is directly referred to in the script. Chris then copied the hieroglyphs and figures seen on the original using a fine point archival ink pen. After drying, the bandage was wrapped around a stained wooden dowel and placed in the center of a vintage mason jar. Did somebody say mason jar?

As for the antique furniture, there is a unique corner chair next to Freud’s desk that the team was absolutely dedicated to getting just right.  Chris scoured the internet, every prop rental house in the area and reached out to fellow prop masters nationwide with no luck. He came across a close match while antiquing in Lancaster however the chair exceeded the budget.  They wouldn’t settle for just any chair.  Finally, Chris found the correct chair right in Philadelphia from a local dealer’s personal collection!

It took 2-3 months to put the set for Freud’s Last Session together.  It sounds like Chris has an awesome job…antiquing, DIYing, staging!  I can’t wait to personally view the set and performance next Friday.

 I hope you’ll join us for “The Scene” where we’ll view Freud’s Last Session on Friday evening, November 16th. 

  • Leave a comment letting me know that you’d like to win a free pair of tickets to “The Scene” and the performance of Freud’s Last Session ($60 value). 
  • There will be an extra entry for you if you post a link to this giveaway on facebook or twitter. 
  • You have until Sunday, November 11th at midnight EST to enter. 
  • The winner will be announced on Monday, November 12th and your pair of tickets will be held at the Arden’s box office for Friday’s performance.

Good luck!  Who will you take if you win?

P.S. Sorry that this giveaway only pertains to my local friends.  I will make it up to you.  Promise.

(All images borrowed from Arden Theatre.)

final puzzle

Hey there!  Happy first day of fall.  I’ve got some fall projects lined up for next week but in the meantime, I am super excited about today’s vintage find.  Here’s a peek…

Any idea what that ‘A’ could be? 


It is a vintage marquee letter circa 1950’s.  The black letters measure about 18 inches high by 12 inches wide.  Here are all of the letters I scored!

The letters were used to display performers’ names at the Keswick Theatre in Glenside, PA in the late 50’s/early 60’s.  The theater is an ornate local venue that exudes vintage charm.  The Keswick brings some big names from time to time.  Currently they use plastic 3-D letters on the marquee.

Yours truly performed in dance recitals there as a kid.  I loved being backstage.  There are so many great details like the heavy 2-story crimson curtain and the ornate columns that extend to the ceiling.  Plus the old dressing rooms seemed so Broadway to me with big bright make-up lights.  Oh the vintage charm of that theater even struck me as a kid. 

Another time I went to see Cyndi Lauper perform and got her autograph right in the parking lot by the stage entrance.  I have so many memories from the old Keswick.  I am thrilled to own a piece of it. 


Luckily the marquee letters were saved from the possibility of death by landfill!  When I heard they were available, I jumped on the opportunity to own a few.  Since I didn’t have an immediate need for these letters, I decided to go with the Wheel of Fortune final puzzle tactic and select the most commonly used letters.  R-S-T-L-N-E are always a given on the show. 

That seemed like a good strategy until I found out that not all of those letters were available.  I ended up selecting N-S-D-L-G-A.  Actually I got 2 D’s.  I couldn’t leave one behind!  I am going to hang one D in my office

I played around arranging the letters to see what words I could spell.

Hi Dad!

I love the letters exactly as is for decorating an office, kid’s room, family room or man cave but they are great for crafting too.  Here is a look at the back.  The letters are made of pegboard and there are D-hooks are still in place that latched onto the marquee.  That should make hanging easy.  Do you want to own one?

How would you display it?

Linking to:
Southern Hospitality
Her Library Adventures
Apron Thrift Girl
House of Grace