Broward Center for the Performing Arts
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The Broward Center for the Performing Arts is a large multi-venue theater and entertainment complex located in the heart of downtown Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA.
Opened in 1991 on a 5.5-acre (22,000 m2) site along the north bank of the New River at Sailboat Bend, the center became a catalyst for major downtown revitalization efforts and an anchor of the Riverwalk Arts and Entertainment District.
Designed by award-winning architect Benjamin C. Thompson, the Broward Center is considered the cultural heart of Broward County. Hosting operas, ballets, concerts, plays, lectures and numerous community events in its four theaters, Broward Center is partners in the arts with several renowned organizations including the Symphony of the Americas, Florida Grand Opera, Miami City Ballet, Concert Association of Florida, Gold Coast Jazz. National tours of Broadway productions are presented in partnership with Broadway Across America. Broward Center's mission includes a strong focus on integrating the arts into education and a substantial portion of annual programming is dedicated to educational and community endeavors.
Broward Center for the Performing Arts is in the downtown riverfront area, in the South Florida region. In the process, it has also become one of the USA's most visited theaters, ranked number four in the world by Venues Today and seven worldwide by concert trade publication Pollstar for annual sales in 2007.
As of 2011, the Broward Center receives over 700,000 patrons annually with over 700 different events. Plans were also announced for an expansion to the center to begin in spring 2012.
- 1 Architects and design team
- 2 Historical development
- 3 Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District
- 4 Expansion and management
- 5 Venues and facilities
- 6 Performance venues managed by BCPA
- 7 Catering and event facilities
- 8 Educational programs
- 9 Awards and distinctions
- 10 Notes
- 11 External links
Architects and design team
Architects and design professionals who designed the Broward Center for the Performing Arts include:
- Architect: Benjamin Thompson and Associates, Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts
- Acoustician: Kirkegaard Associates, Chicago, Illinois
- Theater Consultant: Jules Fisher Associates, New York, New York
- Consulting Engineer: Spillis Candela & Partners, Inc., Miami, Florida
In an effort to address the changing needs of an expanding South Florida cultural community and invigorate the downtown business district, a consortium of civic leaders, private citizens, and government entities came together in the 1980s to secure the funding necessary to build the world class theater complex that was to become the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. The Florida legislature in 1984 established the Performing Arts Center Authority (PACA) to oversee construction, then policy making, at the Broward Center. The Downtown Development Authority, along with civic-minded citizens, private sources and the Broward Performing Arts Foundation worked together to raise the funding required to build the theater complex.
By the end of 1987, initial fundraising goals had been met and with supplementary grant monies from city, county, state and national sources secured, the project went out to bid. The acclaimed Cambridge, Massachusetts architecture firm of Benjamin Thompson and Associates, Inc was selected to design the facility. A groundbreaking ceremony was held in May 1988 to initiate the building phase.
By early 1991 the 224,500-square-foot (20,860 m2) facility was completed at a cost of $54 million. The doors officially opened on February 26, 1991 with the first national tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera. The tenth anniversary of the Broward Center was marked by retiring the entire building mortgage, 11 years ahead of schedule.
Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District
In 1998, the Broward Center began a collaboration with neighboring merchants and cultural attractions along the New River that would evolve into formation of the Riverwalk Arts and Entertainment District. This destination marketing organization features the Broward Center, The Museum of Art/Fort Lauderdale, Florida Grand Opera, Concert Association of Florida, Fort Lauderdale Historical Society and Historic Stranahan House Museum. Formed to promote cultural tourism to Fort Lauderdale and to the Riverwalk district in particular, more than 1 million ticketed visitors annually attend programming at the combined Arts & Entertainment District partner venues.
Expansion and management
Broward Center management has taken a leadership role in strengthening arts throughout the community since its inception and that community-centered focus has resulted in several partnerships that have allowed the Center to expand beyond its geographic borders in pursuit of its mission.
In 2004 Broward Center became a managing partner of the Rose and Alfred Miniaci Performing Arts Center, located on the campus of Nova Southeastern University. A year later, Broward Center assumed management of the historic 1100-seat Parker Playhouse in east Fort Lauderdale. In 2007, Broward Center was chosen as the creative consultants to help guide the emerging Miramar Cultural Center/Arts Park in western Broward County through its early development. It will now manage operations of this new 800-seat theater, scheduled to open in the fall of 2008.
Venues and facilities
Performance venues at BCPA, on the New River (Himmarshee):
Au-Rene Theater, the main performance space for major international, national and regional productions, including Miami City Ballet, Concert Association of Florida, Florida Grand Opera and Broadway Across America touring companies.
- Capacity: 2,700
- Notable performances: The Phantom of the Opera (1991), Tony Bennett (2007), Broadway's The Lion King (2002 and 2007), Whoopi Goldberg (2005), Renée Fleming (2006), Wicked (2008), k.d. lang (2008)
- Seating structure: Orchestra, Mezzanine, and Balcony
Amaturo Theater, an intimate space ideally suited for dramatic productions as well as children’s theater, film, community theater, choirs, chamber, jazz, folk and symphonic music groups, seminars, and emerging dance companies.
- Capacity: 590
- Notable performances: Gold Coast Jazz, Symphony of the Americas, Capitol Steps, Second City Revue, Paula Poundstone, Jane Monheit
- Seating structure: Excellent sight-lines from every seat, with a large center section, flanked by a left and right seating area
Abdo New River Room, a conference/banquet/performance facility available for various types of activities, such as cabaret, dinner theater, rehearsals and speaker programs as well as for public and private receptions and events.
- Capacity: 500 seated seminar/theater style; 240 banquet style:
- Notable performances: Tony n’Tina’s Wedding, Next Step Dance Theater
- Location: On the same Ft. Lauderdale campus with the Amaturo and Au-Rene theaters
Performance venues managed by BCPA
Parker Playhouse, a legendary theater now managed by the Broward Center’s governing authority, PACA, this classic space is perfect for concerts, theatre, comedy and dance.
- Capacity: 1,167
- Notable performances: In its initial heyday, Parker Playhouse hosted productions featuring Elizabeth Taylor, Faye Dunaway and James Earl Jones. Judy Collins (2006), Dixie Carter & Hal Holbrook, Southern Comforts (2006), Preservation Hall Jazz Band (2006), Marvin Hamlisch (2007), Tea at Five with Tovah Feldshuh (2006), Ladysmith Black Mambazo (2007)
- Seating: Continental seating
- Location: 707 NE 8th Street, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304
Rose and Alfred Miniaci Performing Arts Center, equipped with lighting and acoustics, and a satellite downlink for viewing broadcast and transmitted productions, this hall is usable for many types of community events, corporate gatherings, lectures and children’s productions.
- Capacity: 498
- Seating: 399 orchestra, 99 balcony
- Location: On the campus of Nova Southeastern University, 3100 Ray Ferrero Jr. Blvd., Fort Lauderdale
Catering and event facilities
BCPA offers facilities and catering services to accommodate all types of events. Seven spaces - including various theaters, expandable break-out rooms, and scenic outdoor courtyards, can be rented for performances, parties, workshops, lectures, corporate appreciation, fundraisers, and other types of activities.
A professional catering team provides guidance, and can provide everything from skirted registration tables, to special video, sound and lighting amenities.
BCPA’s mission includes a strong focus on integrating the arts into education. Through a unique partnership with the School Board of Broward County, BCPA has developed award winning educational programming and learning tools for students of all ages, educators and parents alike. BCPA’s commitment to educational excellence includes presenting free performances to over 150,000 students annually, facilitation of annual “Arts for the Future” scholarships, and creation of numerous study guides and support structures that enhance access to professional development in the arts.
BCPA has been selected as a partner in the Kennedy Center's Partners in Education program.
Professional development opportunities for teachers, artists and interested adults
- Cultural Adventures Educator Workshops
- Workshops To Go
- Smart Stage Education Programs
- Summer Academies
- “Broadway for Teachers” Performance & More Workshops
- Cappie Awards for High School Theater
Specialized student programming
- Smart Stage Matinees
- Student Enrichment in the Arts (SEAS)
- Reading Residencies
- Reading Readiness and Community Partnerships
- Summer Academies
Awards and distinctions
- Mark Nerenhausen, President and CEO of the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, picked up a Silver Medallion Award from the National Conference for Community and Justice March 2007
- Designated a "Point of Culture" by the Brazilian Ministry of Culture, January 2006
- Designated the "Broward County Cultural Embassy" by the Broward County Commission, 2007
- Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District given the ArtServe Encore Award for "Best Arts Collaboration", 2007
- Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District Partners collected a Silver Addy Award from the Advertising Federation of Greater Fort Lauderdale for publication re-design of the Annual Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment Guide, 2004
- Center web-site
- Center web-site