Last June, we reported about the groundbreaking for The Everyman Theater's new space on the corner of Fayette Street and Eutaw Place, right across the street from the Hippodrome, at the site of the old Town Theater. Today, we stopped by take a look at how the construction is going.
The building, constructed in 1911, had turns as a vaudeville and Yiddish theater, a movie theater, and a parking garage before being left vacant for the last 20 years. The front facade (first picture), including iron detail and an "E" at the top (fortuitous for the Everyman) from its original incarnation as the Empire Theater, has been painstakingly restored.
Inside, the space was entirely gutted, and, only in the last few months has it begun to take shape. The second picture is taken from the back of what will be the main theater space. It's significantly larger than the Everyman's current theater, on Charles Street, and, notably, with a much higher ceiling, which will give the space a greater resonance and allow for more effective lighting rigs.
The construction crews have been careful to save whatever ephemera they have come across as they deconstruct and rebuild in this 100-year-old space, and they've found a gold mine. Among the highlights are stacks of refund envelopes from a previous incarnation as Little Theater. In the third picture, you can see one from January 21, 1947, which documents a refund for the cost of two tickets (88 cents) because the show was "not in English."
There is also an old bottle of National Bohemian beer (fourth picture), and a poster for an all-night horror-film marathon across the street at the Hippodrome from the 80s, which is my favorite (fifth picture). If you managed to make it through all four films, from midnight to 6 a.m., the tickets are free.
The folks at The Everyman say they are considering including some of the artifacts from the building in a display case in the lobby, which I think is a great idea.
The theater is expected to be completed in about a year and Everyman is planning that the first two shows of its 2012-13 season will be in the current space, and the last four will be in the new one. Can't wait to see the finished product...