10 E. North Avenue,
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Architects: Armand de Cortieux Carroll
Functions: Performing Arts
Styles: Streamline Moderne
Previous Names: Film Centre
News About This Theater
- Feb 6, 2012 — Former theater seen as a centerpiece for Baltimore arts district
- Oct 13, 2010 — Happy 55th, Todd-AO & "Oklahoma!"
The Centre Theatre opened on February 2, 1939 with Loretta Young in “Kentucky”. This was a really amazing theatre which was part of a complex that included a studio theatre in addition to the main hall and the broadcasting center of WFBR radio. It was the first theatre in the city equipped for radio broadcasting in-house (other theatres had broadcast via remote before) and the first with the ability to project live television on the screen.
It was renamed Film Centre on August 18, 1954 and closed in 1959. Although the main auditorium was long ago converted to office space for the Equitable Bank (Itself now long swallowed by mergers), the beautiful lobby with “heroic nudes” (according to opening night literature) is more or less still there. The studio theatre is still there, although WFBR moved out a few years ago, and is being used as a storefront church (this section opens onto 20th Street). The exterior is in fine shape, the Moderne styling has not been changed at all and the marquee is still there.
In the 1930’s and 1940’s, North Avenue was considered the northernmost boundary of Baltimore, and development was spread along both sides of the street. Across the street from the Centre Theatre, is the Aurora Theatre, and a little to the west of the Aurora Theatre is the Parkway Theatre. The Centre Theatre was a Art Moderne style treat, and opened to great fanfare.
After closing the building remained in excellent condition, and while lettering had been removed, the old vertical tower still stands. In 2015 it reopened as a performing arts centre
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