I spent Saturday evening walking around the Station North “Arts & Entertainment District” for their “Second Saturdays” event in which various venues host free or reduced cost events for the public. The reason I’m writing this is because one of their flagship theatres – The Everyman – is moving to a new space across from The Hippodrome at the end of their season and it got me wondering: what should fill that venerable old performance space?
The most obvious choice would be to move another theatre company into that space – especially since there are a lot of “dive theatres” in the area (LoF\T, Single Carrot, and Strand) as well as a few “homeless” companies like Annex and Iron Crow. This is, unfortunately, the least likely scenario especially since many companies are just barely making ends meet as it is due to decreased theatre attendance.
However, the absolute best fit theatrically speaking is Spotlighters. Yes, the venerable Mount Vernon theatre has recently launched a capital campaign to raise $1.5 million to make their space ADA compliant – including wheelchair ramp and improved restrooms (trust me, they need it). Both things the current Everyman space, conveniently enough, already has – a bigger stage and slightly larger audience without losing intimacy (85 at their current space, vs. approximately 135 at Everyman). Not only that, the current Everyman space is in a highly desirable location on Charles Street in Station North (as opposed to a basement hidden in the back of an alleyway, that’s difficult if not impossible to find – especially at night).
The next most obvious option would be to put a gallery there. Yes, there are plenty of places to make pretty pictures, but most of the places that are displaying them require you order something first. I’m all for, hanging art in whatever forum will hang them, but it can difficult to approach art in this context without upsetting other customers and obstructing the wait staff.
They could also open a bar, restaurant or a retail shop in there (I hear the Baltimore FREE Store needs a new home), but I suspect that it will simply sit idly decaying until it becomes nothing but a boarded up shell of its former self like so many other buildings in the neighborhood. It would be a terrible shame – and a waste of good real estate – but I suspect that may ultimately end up being its fate.