• BaltimoreCenterStage01
  • BaltimoreCenterStage02
  • BaltimoreCenterStage03
  • © Peter Hegeman
  • © Karl Connolly
  • © Karl Connolly

Transforming the state theatre of Maryland

Center Stage, Baltimore


Project summary


Charcoalblue provided theatre and acoustic consultancy for the renovation and expansion of Center Stage, housed in a 19th Century former Jesuit School in Baltimore. 


Working with Center Stage’s artistic director Kwame Kwei-Armah and architects Cho Benn Holback Associates, Charcoalblue considered several approaches to adding a new ‘Third Space’ studio theatre as well as improving the flexibility of one of the two existing theatre spaces - the Head Theater - without reliance on movable seating towers or costly turn-around times. The aim was also to minimise the impact on production facilities whilst offering an improved connection between departments across the building and renewing and reworking tired amenities.


The solution resulted in a radical redesign of the Head Theater to create a 400-seat thrust stage auditorium with greatly improved technical systems and a modular stage floor to enable format flexibility. The first season featured three variations of the thrust stage as well as an end stage configuration; theatre-in-the-round followed in Season 2. The Third Space becomes an expedient entity created within the enlarged volume of the stage between repertory shows. This 99-seat studio provides the company with an opportunity to program smaller scale works and new writing and educational workshops.


In addition, we reinvigorated the public spaces by incorporating an integrated lobby experience with custom projection mapping and distributed audio system. Charcoalblue were responsible for engaging the digital artists, designing the networked media system and coordinating the displays with the architecture.