Theater District’s next act + promoting arts education + expanding revenue generators

  • COST

    $5.1 million

  • SIZE

    40,000 SF addition


    Master Planning, Architect

The Wang Center for the Performing Arts is Boston’s largest non-profit performing arts organization. As such, it manages the 3700-seat Wang Theater as well as the 1600-seat Shubert Theater. Recognizing its central role in greater Boston’s performing arts community and the prominence of its two theaters within the city’s bustling Theater District, the Wang Center for the Performing Arts commissioned Wilson Butler Architects to undertake an initial planning study. The aim of this study was to identify all of the existing performing venues in the Theater District as well as any potential sites within the area for new facilities.

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Wilson Butler drew upon our own planning expertise and the work previously undertaken by the Boston Redevelopment Authority to create a new master plan of the Theater District that articulates the relationships of its existing theaters and outlines potential areas for expansion and/or consolidation. This study, which was first present in the fall of 2000, has become an ongoing project that involves both the Wang Center as well as many of its constituent performing arts companies.

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In addition to the conceptual design of the Epstein and Lee Arts and Education Center, Wilson Butler has provided ongoing facility development services for the Citi Center for the Performing Arts, Boston’s premier performance facility. This includes ongoing renovations, HVAC upgrades, and accessibility improvements to the Center’s additional theatres, the 1600-seat Shubert Theatre built in 1910 and the 3700-seat Wang Theatre built in 1925.

More Performance Projects

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The schematic design for the addition of a 40,000 SF Arts and Education Center is one of the first steps to bringing this newest Theater District facility to life. This expansion includes developing a new main entrance lobby on Hollis Street, which will connect the existing 3700-seat Wang Theatre and the new arts and education center. The new center will be built within the first two floors of the adjacent parking structure and will feature a 250-seat studio theatre, a new and larger box office and gift shop, and catering and education facilities.

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The Wang Theater, the most revered theater in Boston and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, has celebrated its 90th anniversary to great fanfare.  Over the years, Wilson Butler has assisted with strategic upgrades to improve her glory and maintain her status. Our work includes rebuilding the famous marquee, updating the box office, renovating dressing rooms and improving critical infrastructure systems.

At the Shubert Theater, the Wang’s sister theater next door, we have rebuilt the historic façade, improved interior finishes and updated building operations systems.  We take pride in keeping these grand dames of the theater in their best shape for generations to come.

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