Boston University – Joan & Edgar Booth Theatre and the College of Fine Arts Production Center

Elkus Manfredi Architects designed the Joan & Edgar Booth Theatre and the College of Fine Arts Production Center for Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts.

The new facilities enable BU College of Fine Arts School of Theatre to become a more unified and comprehensive program, with state-of-the-art facilities as teaching tools for all aspects of theatre production and performance. It is the first time in decades that College of Fine Arts performance and production students have been housed in the same location.

With a full season of productions, Booth Theatre will quickly take its place among the many dynamic performance venues of the Boston area, providing students and Boston’s theatre-going public with additional cultural opportunities.

When Boston University sold its former theatre on Huntington Avenue the sale brought with it three welcome opportunities for the University:

• The chance to unify the theatre arts program, which had long been split between facilities on Huntington Avenue and Commonwealth Avenue
• The capacity to bring a newly strengthened artistic presence to BU’s Charles River Campus
• The ability to create a state-the-art learning environment to educate the next generation of theatre artists and engage audiences in an immersive experience

The Joan & Edgar Booth Theatre and College of Fine Arts Production Center encompasses:
• A purposeful, multi-functional studio theatre used for student theatrical productions
• Production facilities including scenery, prop, and costume shops serve as hands-on learning environments for students in the design & production program of the College’s School of Theatre
• Faculty offices, teaching spaces including a sound and lighting lab and student design studios
• A landscaped plaza fronting on Commonwealth Avenue
• Fully landscaped buffer areas fronting on Essex and Dummer Streets

A well-known quote from Shakespeare’s Hamlet: “To hold as ‘twere the mirror up to nature” has been a longtime touchstone for the BU theatre program and became a central point of inspiration for the design idea of theatre as a mirror to society. Wrapped in a proscenium-like concrete scrim, the theatre’s shimmering 40-foot glass façade on Commonwealth Avenue tilts toward the street at a 14-degree angle, reaching out and inviting visitors in, while reflecting them back as well. The inspirational quote is now engraved on black metal panels along the edge of the mezzanine above the entry lobby, greeting all students, faculty, and visitors and reminding them of the world of imagination they are entering.

Architect: Elkus Manfredi Architects
Interiors: Elkus Manfredi Architects
Project Manager: Stantec
Construction: Bond Brothers
Photography: Robert Benson, Eric Laignel