By Aria Brent,
AFRO Staff Writer

Baltimore Center Stage (BCS) celebrates 60 years in operation this year. On June 3, elected officials, community members and Charm City creatives came out to party in true thespian style at the theater house, located in the 700 block of Calvert street. 

The anniversary celebration went above and beyond, complete with live band performances, experiences like indoor golfing and karaoke.

Rob Burks, a BCS board member, spoke with the AFRO about the importance of Black actors and creatives being involved with the organization.

“We have been underrepresented and needing opportunities for far too long when it comes to theater,” said Burks. “[Theater] is a way for us African Americans to escape, get ahead, release and find ourselves.”

BCS has become Baltimore’s leading professional producing theater and welcomes nearly 100,000 people each season. Located in the city’s historic Mount Vernon Cultural District, the theater has become a pillar in the community.

Founded in 1963, BCS has been using theater as a way of discussing current events and engaging the Baltimore community for the last 60 years. 

Named the State Theater of Maryland in 1978, BCS is dedicated to providing active and open accessibility to their programming. This includes programs such as the Main Stage series productions, civic programming, learning and social accountability programs. 

Mayor Brandon M. Scott discussed how essential the arts and organizations like Baltimore Center Stage are to the community.

“You can’t think about Baltimore and not think about the arts. You think about theater, music and actors— but it’s also about the people that you don’t know. [The arts] are what makes us quirky, and so diverse and rich,” said Scott.

During the gala, the BCS Shared Space Initiative was officially launched and attendees were encouraged to donate to the program that will provide community organizations with the opportunity to use the building in new and exciting ways.

The initiative was explained by Annalisa Dias, BCS director of artistic partnerships and innovation, who noted that the goal of the program is to further their involvement in the community and to provide more opportunities to the artists of Baltimore.

“This initiative will throw open the doors of BCS largest physical asset– this 110,000 square feet building— and all that it encompasses to the artists and change makers in our community. Our goal is to make good on our role as a cultural anchor, and create a more equitable, civic, arts ecology right here in Baltimore,” stated Dias.

After all this time BCS still sits in the center of the hearts of Baltimoreans, 60 years of shaping the culture and developing the arts scene in Baltimore is certainly worth celebrating.