The Carpenter Theatre was built in 1928 in a fantasy Spanish Baroque style. It was designed by Eberson as an atmospheric theatre, having an auditorium with the feeling of an outdoor medieval village plaza with stars and clouds overhead. It is one of the few atmospheric Eberson theaters remaining.
Although listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Carpenter faced deteriorating finishes and the lack of sufficient stage area and support facilities. In addition, an abandoned department store adjacent to the Carpenter Theatre was included in the master performing arts master plan and renovations. The department store is not specifically listed as historic, but was dear to the memories of many who live in Richmond.
The restoration includes a new and enlarged stagehouse, a loading dock for the Carpenter, and the rehabilitation of the former department store into performance, rehearsal and administrative space. These facilities provide a range of venues to meet Richmond’s performing arts needs.
In order to qualify for federal and state historic tax credits, meetings and extensive reviews were required by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (VADHR) and the National Parks Service (NPS).
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