Reporting Mike Schuh
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A critical piece of the plan to rebuild Baltimore’s west side was put into place Tuesday.
As Mike Schuh reports, a theatre, which staged its first play in a church, has now broken ground on a $17 million home.
You may have driven by, but never noticed the Town Theatre, not that you would have missed much. Closed since 1990, it was a 100-year-old wreck.
But now, a new tune is being heard.
“I want to officially welcome you to the groundbreaking for our new home for the Everyman Theatre in the former Town Theatre on Baltimore’s west side,” said Ian Tresselt, Everyman Theatre.
The theatre has been empty and neglected for decades. When Bank of America bought the whole block, they knew they needed to do something with the abandoned building.
What they did was donate it to Everyman, a scrappy 21-year-old theatre that emphasized showing the talents of local professional union actors.
“We weren’t ready to surrender it to the wrecking ball because it is a historic building,” said Bill Cooper, Bank of America.
It took $17 million to rebuild. It will look the same from the outside, but it will be totally rebuilt inside. It’s an intimate 250 seat theatre, and for the first time offices, shops for props, sets and a wardrobe room. There will also be rehearsal space, a second theatre and amenities for the 4,000 season ticket holders.
A space built just for them nearly brings tears to the eyes of the founding artistic director.
“To be in here and see the progress, see this historic building transformed into our new home is very exciting. Not many artistic directors get the joy of seeing that,” said Vincent Lancisi, Everyman Theatre.
Opening night is in the fall 2012.
Even after raising $16 million, the theatre is still $1.1 million shy of having enough to pay the bill for their new home.