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Performance Theatre Workshop moving to Hamilton

All the world's a stage for residents of Baltimore's Hamilton neighborhood. So, it may be no surprise that after 15 years in Federal Hill, Performance Theatre Workshop is moving to 5426 Harford Road in July.

Productions at the new space will begin Fall 2011, after theater staff have raised the $500,000 needed to purchase and refurbish the former Provident Bank building,  Marlyn Robinson, one of the company's artistic director says.

Leaders at the nonprofit will begin a capital campaign in the near future, raising money from individuals and foundations so they can move into the historic building, which dates to 1928. Baltimore architects Ziger/Snead LLC -- who have worked with MICA and Centerstage -- will design and restore the building.

The new space will give Performance Theatre 80 seats, versus 30 at its spot at 28 E. Ostend Street, near Cross Street Market. "We needed to serve more people," since at times, the theater was at capacity, Robinson says. The spot also offers ample parking and access for the disabled, something that was lacking in its Federal Hill space.

Robinson expects that the area's young families and throngs of artists will be interested in the theater's productions.
"It's an area that very much wants to develop and grow," Robinson says. "We think that is a welcoming and interested neighborhood."

Two neighborhood associations invited the theater troupe to move to the area, Marc Horwitz, also an artistic director for the company, says.

The Hamilton and nearby Lauraville neighborhoods have attracted a host of new restaurants and cafes in recent years, including Clementine, Hamilton Tavern and Red Canoe Bookstore Café.

Originally based in Pennsylvania, Performance Theatre Workshop has a strong educational mission and hosts workshops and post-theater discussions. Theater officials hope to help train Hamilton high school students. "I'd like the theater to grow into a magnet for the schools and receive training from professionals," Horwitz says.

The troupe's most recent production was the "Puppetmaster of Lodz," a play about a Holocaust survivor that the theater runs every seven years. Next season, it plans to hold its plays in various performance spots throughout the city until its new Hamilton space is ready.

Wanna know more? Read more about the area's Arts and Culture scene.

Sources: Marc Horwitz, Marlyn Robinson, Performance Theatre Workshop
Writer: Julekha Dash
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