The Moore began life as one of Seattle's leading theaters of its time, presenting stage plays, operas, symphonies, and musicals. Around the end of World War I, it became part of the Orpheum vaudeville circuit until it was supplanted in this role by the (now-demolished) Orpheum Theatre in 1927. A premier venue in the Depression era, performers at the Moore in the 1930s included Sarah Bernhardt, Lily Langtry, the Barrymores, Marie Dressier, and Anna Pavlova.
Over the next few decades, the Moore served as a revival house and a rental house (events even included boxing matches). A 1955 remodel spruced up the theater and turned the mezzanine into a gallery that showed the likes of Mark Tobey, George Tsutakawa, Guy Anderson, June Nye, and Kenneth Callahan.
In 1974 the theatre was placed on the National Register of Historic Places; in 1975 it was lightly remodeled as the "Moore Egyptian" movie theater, original home of the Seattle International Film Festival, and direct ancestor of today's Egyptian Theater on Capitol Hill. After 1980, it continued briefly as a movie theater under other management, before resuming life as a live performance space.
The theater is currently used for live performances including dance, theater, music, and comedy, under the same management as the Paramount Northwest.