The Benjamin & Marian Schuster Performing Arts Center (celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2013) is located at Second and Main Streets on the Avenue of the Arts, stands opposite the Victoria Theatre and The Loft Theatre. Like the Victoria Theatre before it, the Schuster Center is a landmark facility for Dayton’s arts and cultural life and a legacy for generations to come.
The Schuster Center is comprised of two distinct structures—a performing arts center and an office/condominium tower—joined as one. The performing arts center serves as the focal point of the facility, and includes the 2,300-seat Mead Theatre, the 150-seat Mathile Theatre, and Citilites Restaurant & Bar. Performance Place, the office/condo tower attached to the Schuster Center, rises 224 feet from the sidewalk, encompassing eight floors of office space and nine stories devoted to luxury condominiums. A Wintergarden, featuring palm trees set against a block-long, glass-enclosed atrium, ties these two elements together. The Wintergarden has quickly become one of Dayton’s premier public gathering space.
At the heart of the Schuster Center lies the 2,300-seat Mead Theatre, a state-of-the-art facility designed to accommodate a diverse array of performing arts, including orchestral music, opera, theatre and dance. The Mead Theatre delivers stunning aural and visual experiences for audiences.
That experience begins with the look of the theatre. Architect Cesar Pelli’s design invokes the feeling of an evening in the southwest under the stars. The cool blues and orange-reds of the theatre’s interior reach all the way to the domed ceiling, where concentric circles of fiber optic lights depict the Dayton sky as it appeared on the eve of the Wright Brothers’ first flight, December 16, 1903.
Careful attention to layout and acoustics will further enhance the experience. World-class theatre planning and design consultants worked to create an intimate setting, with the last row a mere 120 feet from the stage. Seating options include orchestra, loge, lower and upper balconies. Acoustical experts customized the theatre to meet the unique needs of performances requiring both acoustical and technical excellence. In addition to delivering outstanding concert hall acoustics, the use of cutting-edge sound isolation technologies in Mead Theatre ensure that external noise will not distract from the performances
The 56’ x 36’, 150-seat black box Mathile Theatre provides a rehearsal facility for the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra and Dayton Opera, and offers an intimate setting for smaller-scale performances. The careful attention to detail in the Schuster Center’s design allows it to be used concurrently with the main theatre. The space can also be rented for receptions, arts education programs, meetings and performances.
The Kettering Wintergarden, a spectacular six-story glass atrium, ties the individual pieces of the Schuster Center together in grand fashion. The open air space is available for weddings, charity balls, corporate functions, formal dinners and special events. The facility can accommodate events of up to 1,000 people. It features a fabulous elliptical staircase leading from the Wintergarden to the balcony lobby level, and 1,900 panes of patterned glass that keep heat out and energy in the building.
The Wintergarden also includes The Dayton Power and Light Company Foundation community stage, which features a diverse array of performers, and Citilites restaurant adjoins the space. Half of the restaurant’s seats spill out into the Wintergarden, allowing the public to relax, eat and view diversity programming on the DP&L Stage, while enjoying the wonderful views looking out across the Avenue of the Arts.
In addition to its technical capabilities, the Schuster Center provides outstanding facilities for the performers. Support space for Mead Theatre and the Mathile Theatre includes:
- Dressing rooms that jointly hold more than 100 performers;
- Wardrobe, makeup and hair styling rooms;
- Laundry area;
- Storage rooms;
- Offices for behind-the-scenes personnel such as security, maintenance, and carpenters.
Musicians and performers have lockers, a music library, and “meet-and-greet” media areas and lounges at their disposal. Visiting companies are also be provided an office area in which to conduct business. The loading dock area features three docks, which can unload and load three trailers simultaneously.
Performance Place Offices, Condominiums & Penthouses
Performance Place, an extraordinary locale with luxury finishes, has seven floors of office space and seven floors of luxury condos and penthouses. The units range in size from 1,700-1,900 sq. ft., one-bedroom condos to 4,000-4,200 sq. ft. three-bedroom penthouses.
The residents of Performance Place’s condominiums are able to walk through their living rooms to a sheltered balcony overlooking Main Street and soak up the view of the heart of downtown. Or they can stroll just a few yards to the six-story Wintergarden and see live performances from the Wintergarden stage beneath the stately palm trees.
Performance Place amenities include a private exercise suite, 24-hour security and a parking garage for residents. Beneath the street are two levels of parking, with three spaces each for those in the penthouses and two in the other units. The also features underground storage, electronic security systems, and a separate entrance and elevators to ensure condo area privacy.
The Arts Garage
To meet the increased parking demands created by the opening of the Schuster Center, the former Rike’s/Lazarus parking garage, located on Ludlow Street across from the Schuster Center, was demolished. The Arts Garage’s 1,206 spaces present an attractive exterior, up-to-date facilities, and features five levels of parking—basement, street level and three levels above the street. Entry/exit points on Ludlow, Second and Wilkinson Streets allow easy access to the new parking facility.
The garage is owned by Victoria Theatre Association and managed by Parking Management Inc. (PMI). The garage was designed by THP Limited, Inc., with consultation from Joseph Mitolo, AIA, and Heapy Engineering, and built by Staver/Baker, LLC. Financing for the project was provided by Fifth Third Bank.
Managing the Center
The Schuster Center, as well as the adjacent Victoria Theatre and Metropolitan Arts Center (home of The Loft Theatre), is owned and operated by Victoria Theatre Association/Arts Center Foundation.