Nine Unique Performance Venues in the Mid-Atlantic
Discover the delight of historic theaters and concert halls that help students appreciate art and history while they perform plays and musicals.
The Mid-Atlantic region has many areas full of artistic development for student theater groups to perform and explore. This list is a discovery of places which encourage student development through performance and learning. While the venues offer beautiful spaces for any play, this list includes historically significant spaces to visit with student groups. These centers offer a rich history and landmark architecture with modern acoustics and technical development that will showcase students’ talent.
1. The Town Hall – New York City, New York
This historic venue has seen more than 90 years of history with performances and town halls. Its conception began as a meeting place to organize and promote the 19th amendment for the women’s right to vote. The large stage seats more than 1,400 people with a wide balcony and not a bad seat in the house. Past performers include the von Trapp Family Choir, Billie Holiday, Bob Dylan and Celine Dion. The Town Hall has education initiatives, collaborating with New York City schools to teach classes promoting the arts through this historical theater.
2. Atlas Performing Arts Center – Washington, D.C.
This 1930’s art deco movie theater has been restored to the Atlas Performing Arts Center with four performance stages. The Lang Theatre and Sprenger Theatre both seat around 200 people. The two labs are optimal rehearsal spaces that seat up to 80 people. This cultural arts center is a cornerstone of the revitalization of H Street in Washington D.C., and a great place to perform shows.
3. Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
This venue offers several stage options for student performances, from 600 to 2,600 seats. These dynamic spaces house The Philadelphia Orchestra, Opera Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Ballet. You can visit or rent Verizon Hall, Perelman Theater, SEI Innovation Studio and the Academy of Music which was built in 1857 as an opera house. Students perform in the historic Merriam Theater, which has featured guests such as Katherine Hepburn, Sir Lawrence Olivier, Helen Hayes, Sammy Davis Jr. and Al Jolson. These large acoustic stages are the perfect spaces for a lively musical.
4. Keith-Albee Performing Arts Center – Huntington, West Virginia
Although this center only has one stage, it seats more than 2,600 people and is listed on the National Register for Historic Places. Built in 1928, the building has undergone several renovations since its vaudeville days while maintaining its historic architecture. Located in downtown Huntington, this relic has transformed into a historic icon in West Virginia. Student theater groups can perform historic plays in this fitting venue.
5. Grand Opera House – Wilmington, Delaware
The Grande is listed on the national register for historic places and is considered one of the best examples of 19th century cast iron architecture in America. With three different theatrical spaces, students can perform in Copeland Hall, The Playhouse or The Baby Grande which seats anywhere from 300 to 1,100 people. The nonprofit arts organization took over this venue where people could see movies by Warner Brothers, operas, symphonies, Victorian melodramas, minstrel shows, burlesque and vaudeville. Students can showcase their acting talent and learn the history of this unique venue.
6. Hylton Performing Arts Center – Manassas, Virginia
The Hylton is connected with George Mason University and offers rentals with dynamic options for any performance group. Merchant Hall is a European style opera house while the Gregory Family Theater is a black box theater with balcony seats. Additional rooms include an art gallery, lounges, multiple practice rooms, class rooms and a performance plaza. With large places to rehearse, teach and perform, the Hylton Performing Arts Center is a unique destination for student theater groups touring Virginia.
7. New Jersey Performing Arts Center – Newark, New Jersey
This nonprofit arts center offers education programs for students, engaging in free events and festivals celebrating the arts. This venue has hosted performances, movies, television specials and speakers in the Prudential Hall and Victoria Theater. The center’s seating ranges from 500 to 2,800 people as well as catering for students from their on-site restaurant and a team to help set up the perfect performance. Exciting new technological capabilities gives this theater a modern selling point for students.
8. Imagination Stage – Bethesda, Maryland
The Imagination Stage has a rich history of reaching out to kids through performance and art. As well as a children’s theater company, the center offers rentals of their theaters and educational classrooms. The rental spaces include The Annette M. and Theodore N. Lerner Family Theatre, The Christopher and Dana Reeve Studio Theatre, Gallery and Education Studios & Labs. With performances featuring young artists and seating for 50 to 350 people, students can have an inspirational experience while acting in this arts center.
9. The Trust Performing Arts Center – Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Erected in 1912 as a bank, this unique center offers a location in historic downtown Lancaster. The venue hosts performance groups for music, theater, dance and community events. The Great Hall and second floor meeting room offer gorgeous spaces to practice, perform or visit. Located within walking distance of historic museums and local landmarks, The Trust is an integral part of Lancaster’s history and a beautiful place for a theatrical show.