Tuesday, April 14, 2009

That's My World Tuesday #26: Memorial Auditorium


"No Business Like Show Business"
Raleigh, NC - December 2008 (Click to embiggen)

Be a virtual tour guide on That's My World Tuesday

Originally built in 1932 for the North Carolina Symphony, Raleigh Memorial Auditorium is now only a part of the larger Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts. Over the years the original building has been expanded and renovated several times, and I can remember the time when what is now the atrium and lobby was actually the front steps. The portico was enclosed in the late 80's creating the new lobby to the tune of approximately $10M.But that renovation paled in comparison to the additions begun in the mid-to-late 90's (with construction completed in 2001). The new complex -- then named the BTI Center for the Performing Arts -- included the 1700 seat Meymandi Concert Hall, the NC Symphony's new home, A.J. Fletcher Opera Theater with 600 seats (the furthest of which is only 68 feet from the stage), Kennedy Theater, a 170-seat 40x60 "black box" experimental theater and Lichtin Plaza a 2-acre outdoor mall available for tented or open air events.

The original Memorial Auditorium, shown here, is still the centerpiece of the complex, and is home to the North Carolina Theater, Carolina Ballet, and a host venue for Broadway Series South -- a series of repertory companies bringing off-Broadway shows to South Street. Other local theater and musical groups perform in the building as well. In 2005 Progress Energy entered into a 20-year arrangement with the city, purchasing the naming rights for the complex for $7.5M.

Aside from occasional patronage at events, I have my own (vicarious) ties to the complex. My son, now a Music Ed major at UNC-Greensboro, performed in both Memorial Auditorium and Meymandi Hall while in high school.Violence UnSilenced


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17 comments:

Asha said...

Good that they are maintaining the old building. We were in Chapel Hill U on Saturday, loved the old buildings, reminds me of my Victorian built college with French windows I attended in India! :)

Daryl said...

Did they fortify the lower portion of the columns ... or are those modern looking bases part of the original design?

John said...

Great posting. Thanks for sharing.

Sylvia K said...

Really terrific shot of the building, interesting history! Thanks for sharing!

Mary Elizabeth said...

Great for the maintenance, I love to see old historical buildings.
Thanks for sharing.

Have a wonderful week
Mary ElizabethBlog.

Martha said...

Interesting, thanks for sharing.

david mcmahon said...

Just back from spending Easter in Sydney - hence he fact that I've been AWOL for almost a week.

You would love the architecture of Calcutta, where I was born, and Bombay, where the English colonial influence was also very strong.

Babooshka said...

Raleigh is cropping up a lot in blogging. Must be a hub bub of like minded thinking going on here. The architecture does put me in mind of parts of the UK, like the name. So many town halls look like this, I could easily mistake this for a lot of UK cities.

Janie said...

Wonderful to have a musician in the family.
THat's a beautiful old building.

kayleen said...

Beautiful building with an interesting history. Thanks for sharing it.

Nebraska Birding

itsnotjustapicture said...

what an interesting history the complex has...i like old over new and of course am happy to hear that they've found a use for the "vintage" structure :)
fascinating post...enjoyed reading it.

Indrani said...

It has been maintained so well and 1700 seats it is huge.
Hope you had a great Easter.

Arija said...

Buildings over time tend to grow like Topsy. Sometimes it is bettr to buiod a whole new arts complex with sufficient parking for modern vehicles and such. At others what is there is extended beyond all recognition.
Nice that you have such a wonderful cultural venue.

Tarolino said...

It's said that everything in America is big. Reading about the new center it seems to fit the bill. This old building is however charming and it's a very good photo of it too.
You have a very talented son. Must make you proud.

Mariz said...

Thanks to you, I'm learning more and more about Raleigh. This is very interesting, great shot too! Must be very nice to have a musician in the family, i'm sure you're very proud of him. Have a great week!

Mix Pix

Carver said...

Great write up on memorial auditorium. Oddly enough I have a shot of Memorial Auditorium in my post this week. Mine was on Fayetteville Street and showed both ends. Great minds think alike and all that, LOL. Of course it has nothing to do with shooting the same town.

maryt/theteach said...

This very serious looking building looks like it was built for very serious things... :)