315 West Fayette Street,
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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. Plans are to reopen the theatre in January 2013.
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