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Chesapeake Shakespeare Company building theater downtown

The historic Mercantile Trust and Deposit Co. building downtown will soon be converted to hold a 250-seat theater for the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company in a deal worth $6 million, including renovation costs. The Helm Foundation this week purchased the former bank that was built in 1855 and is located at 200 E. Redwood St. When completed, the space will be ready for performances of the Bard’s classics, educational programs and community events. Scott Helm, a trustee of the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, directs the foundation. “Chesapeake Shakespeare Company is in its 10th season serving almost 12,000 people every year,” said Ian Gallanar, the company’s founding artistic director. “We are thrilled about our expansion into the thriving Baltimore theater scene. While we will continue to serve our current patrons with outdoor performances at our home stage in Howard County, this second location will broaden our reach and help foster a new community of classical theater enthusiasts.” Local architectural firm Cho Benn Holback + Associates Inc. is designing the plans using a model of Shakespeare’s famous Globe Theatre in London. “The design combines the intimacy of a traditional Elizabethan playhouse with a contemporary sense of design and convenience,” a press release said. Cho Benn Holback + Associates also designed the performance spaces at the new Everyman Theatre, the James Rouse Center in the American Visionary Art Museum and the Creative Alliance at The Patterson Theater. Renovations at the Mercantile Trust and Deposit Co. Building will begin in early 2013. The new theater is expected to open in 2014. “The building’s substantial mezzanine, elaborate and colorful carved ceiling, and Corinthian columns all echo elements of Elizabethan theaters,” says Lesley Malin, managing director of the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company. “We are enthusiastic about working with Cho Benn Holback to incorporate these beautiful architectural features into a modern-day Globe in downtown Baltimore.” The recent real estate purchase creates a “theater triangle” in downtown Baltimore between the nearby Hippodrome Theatre and the new Everyman Theatre. Chesapeake Shakespeare Company will stage an eight-month season downtown and provide after-school and weekend programs for the city drama students. The company has also announced plans to hold an international theater festival at the site, which will attract classical theater companies to Baltimore.

One comment

  1. We’re truly sickened to see whose doing the building, whose being discriminated, whose legal and whose not..Can’t wait to name names for all that thinks its ok to hire illegals. Oops.. undocumented New americans

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