Engaging Patrons from Street to Seats

Baltimore Center Stage

Baltimore Center Stage

Baltimore, Maryland

By reimagining this historic theater’s spaces, functionality, and sense of place, our team created a space where patrons engage with the arts before they even set foot in the building. Facing declining attendance, Center Stage’s leadership recognized that the theater’s facilities were hampering its ability to serve the Baltimore community. Our strategic interventions, including the creation of a double-height lobby and a new coffee bar, welcome passers-by into the building and make them feel at home.

Our design balances old and new to enhance the experience of both performers and patrons. The result is a state-of-the-art theater and gathering place that offers historic architecture and 21st-century technologies.

Engaging Patrons from Street to Seats
Our patrons not only recognize the home they have come to know and love, but see a physical appearance that matches the high quality of the work on our stages.
An exterior photo of visitors entering the theater.

Engaging with the Arts

Audience engagement begins before patrons even enter the building, with dramatic new façade lighting and a welcoming lobby that beckons patrons in. Refurbished iron doors and a grand entry arch highlight a new streetside plaza, creating a dramatic sense of arrival.

A photo of a visitor entering the theater from the interior perspective.

Welcoming New Faces

We reinvented the formerly closed-off lobby as a two-story atrium visible from the street. The downstairs café, To Bean or Not to Bean, is open to the public, creating opportunities to convert casual visitors into future theater-goers one cup of coffee at a time.

A photo of the exterior of the theater.

Preserving Baltimore’s Heritage

Center Stage is housed in a circa-1855 former Jesuit school in Baltimore’s Mount Vernon neighborhood. We restored much of the building’s 19th-century presence along North Calvert Street and worked within a historic easement to create a small rear addition.

A photo of the mezzanine level of the lobby.

Integrating the Latest Technologies

State-of-the art audiovisual and lighting effects are layered onto the building’s historic backdrop. Digital projections in the lobby are works of art in themselves. The completely renovated Head Theater features upgraded theater technologies, and a new black box theater supports experimental productions.

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