Everyman Theatre

315 West Fayette Street,
Baltimore, MD 21201

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Town Theatre, Baltimore, MD.

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Originally built in 1911 in the Beaux-Arts style, the Empire Theatre was just around the corner from the Hippodrome Theatre, and has one of the more interesting histories of downtown Baltimore theatres.

After trying and failing at burlesque and vaudeville, the 2,200-seat Empire Theatre (later Palace Theatre) switched to movies, then later switched back to burlesque, ultimately closing in 1937 when it was gutted and served as a garage for ten years. In 1946 it was rebuilt with an unusual Art Moderne style motif (designed by architects John Zink and Lucius White). The new incarnation seated 1,550, and opened again as a movie house, converting to Cinerama in 1953.

The Town Theatre ultimately closed in 1990, and for a time its future looked bleak, as the city’s new downtown revitalization plan called for the demolition of many older buildings located in the west downtown district.

However, the venue was saved when the Everyman Theatre troupe, a successful regional theatre, bought the building for $1, with an eye to making it their new home. In 2010 fundraising began to do a complete remodeling. The interior was in bad shape, and the building was gutted to construct a black box theatre within the shell, also providing appropriate rehearsal space. The facade was fully restored. It reopened the Fall of 2012.

Contributed by Thomas Paul, David A. Litterer

Recent comments (view all 21 comments)

bruceanthony
bruceanthony on July 29, 2008 at 12:20 pm

To bad more thought is not being done on what could be done with this theatre. Every time they have taken a movie palace and turned it into a small Black Box theatre it looks horrible. The theatre should be made to be more flexible larger seating for some shows and smaller seating for others. What a waste of money to turn it into just another Black Box theatre.brucec

Coate
Coate on May 18, 2009 at 3:59 pm

Baltimore’s Cinerama exhibition history posted here.

randytheicon
randytheicon on December 12, 2009 at 10:39 am

The Town is being converted into the new home for Everyman Theatre, with opening scheduled for 2011. This is great news!

Several weeks ago I got a very brief look at the lobby and auditorium. As you’d expect, the place is a mess. The ground-floor projection booth was open – two lamphouses still stood there, 19 years after the last picture was shown.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on January 30, 2010 at 6:58 pm

There is a photo of the Town in this June 1952 issue of Boxoffice magazine:
http://tinyurl.com/yafzbvr

Dramatrauma
Dramatrauma on April 9, 2010 at 4:08 pm

The Everyman Theater has up[dates regarding the renovations
http://www.everymantheatre.org/newtheater.html

Thnaks for the ‘86 photo ken, but I really have to wonder how they defined “newly renovated”.

I thought I knew most of Esther’s films but dont recall
“Skirts Ahoy”. LOL With a title like that Id hunt it down to watch with or without Esther.

randytheicon
randytheicon on May 1, 2010 at 6:11 pm

“She’s Gotta Have It” and “Daughter of Dracula.”

Oh, those funky J-F double-bills!!

dick
dick on January 6, 2011 at 7:51 pm

To the person who wrote in 2004 about Cinerama doing badly in Baltimore. Baltimore got on the bandwagon too late. 4 years too late. By the time it got to Baltimore it had already been ion D>C> & Philly many years before. We had a similiar experience here in the Boston area because it took a few years for Providence(50 miles) and Hartford(100 miles) to get Cinerama(3 strip). It did well in both venues but not as long as Boston. We then got Cinerama(70mm) in Worcester(45miles) and in Lawrence(35 miles). Did not do well. Boston did very well because it was in the big city, larger theatre and opened here 1st. Boston was the 5th Cinerama theatre(3 strip). Lasted from 1953 until the early seventies.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 15, 2012 at 5:33 pm

The 1952 photo of the Town Theatre in Boxoffice can now be seen at this link.

The web site of the Everyman Theatre is now saying that their new venue will be opened in the fall of this year. The picture of the restored facade on this page shows the name Everyman on the vertical sign, so apparently none of the house’s historic names will be brought back.

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