Stage set for reopening of renovated Baptist Temple

March 23, 2010

Programming in the 36,000-square-foot performance venue will begin on April 17 with a performance by Broadway actress and singer Patti LuPone.

Credit: Elizabeth Manning/Temple University

Baptist Temple, originally built in 1891 for Temple University founder Russell Conwell’s congregation, and the source of the university’s name, is set to re-open on April 14 after standing dormant for 30 years. The 36,000-square-foot facility has undergone a $30 million renovation that preserved much of the building’s original character while transforming it into a state-of-the-art performance and event space.

“We are thrilled to breathe new life into The Baptist Temple, converting it to a fully equipped, state-of-the-art technical facility,” said Charles Bethea, the venue’s executive director. “The Temple serves as a monument to the growing vitality of our community, offering the university and our neighbors opportunities for deeper engagement with an exciting new mix of arts and ideas.”

Programming will commence on April 17 with a performance by Broadway actress and singer Patti LuPone. A full season of concerts, theatre and dance productions will follow, including bookings by Philadelphia Dance Company and Live Nation. Building managers also hope to attract special events such as film screenings, graduations, weddings and other occasions.

The Baptist Temple’s primary performance space is Lew Klein Hall, a 1,200-seat theater that features a large, protruding stage, superior acoustics, vaulted ceilings and much of the building’s restored original features. Among the unique attributes are custom wood and iron working, 140 stained-glass windows and the Temple’s hallmark Rose Window overlooking Broad Street.

– Kyle Bagenstose

For more of this story visit the Temple University Newsroom

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