Celebrate the Royal Theater, Baltimore on June 17th

Royal Theatre, Baltimore. uncredited photograph.

On Friday, June 17th at 6:00 pm BST, the Baltimore Architecture Foundation present REVIVING THE ROYAL THEATRE, a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the opening of this legendary now-lost theatre, its history and legacy.

This event comprises a talk about the theatre and the work being done to revive this historic community through the insights of three guest speakers.

Photojournalist Amy Davis will present vintage images of the Royal Theater and few of the other opulent movie palaces in its day looking through a social, cultural and architectural prism to understand Baltimore’s history. The Royal Theater, located at 1329 Pennsylvania Avenue in Baltimore, first opened in February 1922 as the black-owned Douglass Theatre before changing its name in 1925 to The Royal. It became the most famous theater along West Baltimore City’s Pennsylvania Avenue, one of a circuit of five such theaters for black entertainment in big cities, which hosted some of the world’s greatest musical acts and entertainers, before it was demolished in 1971.

James Hamlin, president and founder of The Royal Theater & Community Heritage Corporation, will share some of what is being done to preserve, promote, and recreate the greatness of the African American Historic West Baltimore Community and Historic Pennsylvania Avenue. In his words: “2-1-2-1-7 on Pennsylvania Avenue and the surrounding community were the epicenters of the African-American [life] in Baltimore. This is a community where Cab Calloway walked. This is where Billie Holiday landed. This is where Thurgood Marshall grew up. This is where every entertainer that you can think of has walked up and down The Avenue and entertained at The Royal Theatre.” Hamlin is also owner of The Avenue Bakery, a community hub and revival pioneer in the area.

Architect Kathleen Sherrill, AIA will highlight her work along the Pennsylvania Avenue corridor, Maryland’s only designated Black Arts and Entertainment District. She firmly believes that architects should challenge themselves to play a key role in improving and supporting Baltimore’s underserved neighborhoods, guiding communities to invest in themselves and the next generation through ownership

This special programme is hosted in partnership with the Maryland Center for History and Culture, who are currently hosting the exhibit “Flickering Treasures” which runs through to September 2023.

This free event (donations requested if you feel able to contribute) lasts approximately one hour.

Tickets are donation based. We encourage you to give what you can to support BAF and Baltimore Heritage. Your support helps us make up for lost tour and program revenue from COVID-19 and create more virtual programs like this.

Book your ticket here

You may also be interested to note that the Baltimore Architecture Foundation (BAF) and Baltimore Heritage present the Virtual Histories Series: 30 minute live presentations and virtual tours focusing on Baltimore architecture, preservation and history, hosted twice a month on Fridays at 1:00 pm EST / 6.00pm BST.


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