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    Venue

    Boston University Theatre, Mainstage

    264 Huntington Avenue
    Boston, MA 02115

    Phone: 617-266-0800   |   Email

    Official Website

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    Designed and constructed as America's first civic playhouse, the building today known as the Boston University Theatre was the first tax-exempt theatre established in the nation. Construction having begun in 1923, it was formally opened with Sheridan's The Rivals on November 10‚ 1925. The architect was J. Williams Beal and Sons.

    Originally named the Repertory Theatre of Boston‚ the theatre was built to be a...

    Designed and constructed as America's first civic playhouse, the building today known as the Boston University Theatre was the first tax-exempt theatre established in the nation. Construction having begun in 1923, it was formally opened with Sheridan's The Rivals on November 10‚ 1925. The architect was J. Williams Beal and Sons.

    Originally named the Repertory Theatre of Boston‚ the theatre was built to be a permanent home for the Henry Jewett Players‚ a Boston–based repertory theatre company. In choosing to locate the theatre across from Symphony Hall and near the Museum of Fine Arts and the old Boston Opera House‚ the theatre’s creators intended to signify its character as a major cultural institution of Boston and its difference from the commercial playhouses in the Boylston‚ Washington‚ Tremont streets area of the city.

    Henry Jewett, a native of Australia, whose portrait as Macbeth hangs today in the main stairwell leading to the theatre's balcony, was a distinguished actor and director. Born in 1862, he moved to the United States around the turn of the century and became the leading man for Julia Marlowe. He settled in Boston shortly after 1900 and organized the Henry Jewett Players. The Jewett Company first offered Shakespeare productions at the Boston Opera House; in 1916 it moved to the Copley Theatre where it performed until the early 1920s. But Jewett's ambition was to have a permanent home for his company, and he and his wife Frances vigorously pressed for a facility built by the community. In 1923, the Jewett Repertory Fund was started; many prominent Bostonians, including Calvin Coolidge and A. Lawrence Lowell, president of Harvard University, were on the roster of sponsors.

    Almost immediately from its opening‚ the Repertory Theatre was beset by difficulties. There was much theatrical competition‚ and soon an even more serious problem was posed by the advent of talking movies‚ which lured audiences from all types of live entertainment. In 1930‚ Mr. Jewett’s company disbanded. Jewett himself died in the same year.

    As the theatre was being closed‚ Jewett’s widow remarked prophetically: "You can’t have a repertory theatre without subsidy — lots of subsidy." The prescience of this view was proven thirty years later in the 1960s as the American regional theatre movement became increasingly significant and revived the pattern of resident theatre companies.

    During the 1930s and 1940s‚ the theatre was known as the Esquire Theatre and was mainly used as a movie house. The Esquire specialized in art films‚ and it was here that Boston audiences first saw Laurence Olivier’s Henry V. During these same years‚ the theatre occasionally reverted to its original purpose‚ as in 1941 when Louis Calhern and Dorothy Gish played in Life with Father.

    In October 1953, Boston University purchased the facility, and the vision which had initially created the theatre again began to be realized. The School of Theatre Arts at the Boston University College of Fine Arts has now used the theatre as its primary facility for performance, design, and technical production for three decades. The Theatre Arts Program presented its first production, Nicholas Evreinoff's The Chief Thing‚ in December 1954. Its students and faculty annually present approximately seven productions in the theatre’s main auditorium and in the upstairs space‚ now called the Stewart Lane & Bonnie Comley Studio 210‚ which was originally the Repertory Theatre’s ballroom.



    Full map and directions


    Parking Information:

    Garage Parking
    There are several parking garages within walking distance of the BU Theatre. Please remember to arrive early for performances, as the Huntington shares local parking lots with other cultural institutions who often hold events at the same time as our performances. 

    Copley Place Garage
    Special $12 parking rate with entry after 5pm. Patron must exit by 2am and must surrender ticket upon departure. Entrance on the corner of Huntington Avenue and Exeter Street. 617-369-5025. boston.lazparking.com.

    Gainsborough Garage
    $22 event parking rate. Please note: this garage often fills up early and does not validate. 617 262 9851.

    Greenhouse Parking Garage
    Special $12 parking rate weekdays with entry by 5pm and weekends all day. Patron must surrender ticket stub when exiting garage. 150 Huntington Avenue / Garage entrance located on Cumberland Street (first right after The Midtown Hotel). 617 247 0588.

    Midtown Hotel Garage
    Special $15 rate. Validation required, available at the hotel's front desk. Patrons must leave by 11pm. 220 Huntington Avenue. 617 262 1000. midtownhotel.com.

    Pilgrim Parking Hynes Auditorium
    $15 parking rate after 4pm. This garage does not validate. 50 Dalton Street, just off Boylston Street, across from the Sheraton Hotel. 617 247 8006. pilgrimparking.com.

    Prudential Garage
    Special $16 rate available for evenings and weekends. Patron must surrender ticket stub when exiting garage. Prudential Center. 617 236 3060. prudentialcenter.com.

    Westland Avenue Garage 
    $25 parking rate. This garage does not validate. 35 Westland Avenue, next to Whole Foods. 617 437 7328. westlandavenuegarage.com.

    Street Parking
    Street parking is very limited, but metered parking spots are available on Huntington Avenue, Mass. Ave., and various streets in the surrounding area. Meters south of Mass. Ave. are in effect until 6pm. Meters north of Mass. Ave. are in effect until 8pm.


    Accessibility Information:

    For more information on the Huntington's access programs, please call Meg O'Brien at 617-273-1558 or mobrien@huntingtontheatre.bu.edu.


    Upcoming Events

    A Little Night Music

    September 11 - October 11, 2015

    1984

    October 17, 2015

    Julius Caesar

    October 18, 2015

    Cosi Fan Tutte

    February 25 - February 28, 2016

    Midsummer Night's Dream

    April 14 - April 17, 2016

    Parade

    April 29 - May 6, 2016

      • Massachusetts Vacation


         

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