BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Entertainment and preservation. That’s the push as a local theatre is looking to purchase the building where college students staged sit-ins during the civil rights movement.
Marcus Washington with more on the plan and how the two worlds of theatre and history are planning to come together.
In the basement of a building in the 800 block of St. Paul Street, lies a treasure.
“The building was built in the ’20s. It was the Madison Hotel,” said Fuxx, Spotlighters Theatre. “And the space that is now the theatre used to be their restaurant. Their kitchen space back, which is now our backstage.”
Since its beginning in 1962, Spotlighters Theatre has been the place people come to get entertained.
“Spotlighters has always been about bringing the show to the audience. Our founder, Audrey Herman, her passion for the space and the theatre was… was that theatre did more than entertain,” said Fuzz.
After 54 years, Fuzz, the executive director, is looking to move the theatre to the old Read’s Drug Store at the corner of Howard and Lexington streets. The building was also the location of the 1955 sit-ins here in Baltimore.
If Spotlighters Theatre is able to obtain the building, they’re hoping to not only transform it into a theatre, but also preserve the rich history of the building.
“Our conception right now is to create our concessions cafe area to look like the counter,” said Fuzz.
With old pictures, old renderings and working with sit-in participant and former Morgan State University student Dr. Helena Hicks.
“Dr. Hicks has their photos from her yearbook, and we’re going to try to do portraits so that you can see the student and know where they are from and a little bit about them. Not just, ‘Oh, look, there’s seven students at a lunch counter.'”
The plan is to create a place to entertain and educate; where people can escape reality, but never forget the past.
“We believe that theatre should provoke you to something; some feeling, some emotion, some action,” said Fuzz.
Spotlighters Theatre is waiting to hear back from the city to see if they can purchase the property. They’re expecting to hear back by the summer.
If things go well, they hope to open up by the fall of 2019.
Spotlighters Theatre’s next production is Moonlight and Magnolias on January 8.
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