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Blumenthal History

The dream of building a state-of-the-art, multi-use performing arts center in Charlotte dates back to the late 1970s.

Blumenthal Performing Arts presents the Duke Energy Broadway Lights Series, featuring national touring Broadway productions and a wide range of special attractions. Additionally, the Education Department develops innovative partnerships with schools and community organizations to bring the performing arts to life for people throughout the region.

Our theaters are home to the seasons of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, Opera Carolina, Charlotte Ballet, On Q Productions, Queen City Theatre Company and Community School of the Arts.

Blumenthal Performing Arts Center

Renowned architect Cesar Pelli designed the Performing Arts Center as well as the adjacent Bank of America Corporate Center and Founders Hall. The Performing Arts Center opened in November 1992 after a three-year construction effort. The Center’s name honors the contributions of the people of the state of North Carolina as well as the generosity of the Blumenthal Foundation, the largest private donor to the capital campaign.

Momentum grew in the ’80s, resulting in a $15 million allocation from the State of North Carolina, a $15 million bond referendum approved by the citizens of Charlotte and an additional $32 million contributed by individuals, corporations and foundations to fund construction. In 1987, the Belk Brothers Company donated a valuable piece of land in uptown Charlotte as the site for Blumenthal Performing Arts Center.

Blumenthal Performing Arts Center at 130 N. Tryon St. includes Belk Theater, Booth Playhouse and Stage Door Theater.

Spirit Square

Blumenthal Performing Arts added Spirit Square Center for Arts and Education at 345 N. College St. to its mission in July 1997. Spirit Square is the former First Baptist Church and was built in 1909.

The congregation moved to a new building in the early 1970s, and community leaders rallied to preserve the structure and give it new life as a community arts center, Spirit Square, which opened in 1976. Today, Spirit Square is a community center focusing on arts education and community theater.

The pride of Spirit Square is the 730-seat McGlohon Theatre. Originally the First Baptist Church sanctuary, the theatre has been carefully restored to preserve and enhance its unique architectural details. The theatre is named in honor of the late legendary jazz pianist Loonis McGlohon of Charlotte.

Spirit Square’s second theater is the black-box style Duke Energy Theatre, which seats 182.

Knight Theater at Levine Center for the Arts

Knight Theater seats 1,191 with in the orchestra, grand tier and mezzanine levels. A variety of dance and music shows are hosted here. It is the home theater for North Carolina Dance Theatre. The theater is physically connected and shares lobby space with the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art.

Supporters

Blumenthal Performing Arts Center is supported by its members and donors, the City of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, the annual fund drive of the Arts & Science Council of Charlotte/Mecklenburg, Inc., and the Grassroots Arts Program of the North Carolina Arts Council, a state agency.

Facts about BLUMENTHAL PERFORMING ARTS

  • Brings to Charlotte and the region an incredible array of the very best of the performing and cultural arts, including first-class touring Broadway productions, and a variety of dance, music, family and educational programs.
  • Offers curriculum-enhancing programs through its Education Department for the region’s students in classrooms, studios, theaters and neighborhood and community centers.
  • Collaborates with numerous local and regional partners to bring diverse arts and cultural programs to our communities.
  • Welcomes and serves nearly 630,000 attendees, including 150,000 students and children to its programs, theaters, classrooms and galleries annually, and provides a home to its 16 resident companies at the Center and Spirit Square.
  • Infuses $52 million annually into our economy.
  • Since opening our theater doors in 1992, 7.9 million people have attended an event, performance, activity or meeting at the Center or Spirit Square.
  • Ranks among the leading performing arts centers in the nation.
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