What do the Angel Orensanz Center on New York’s Lower East Side; The Old Church in Portland, Oregon; the Yale Repertory Theater in New Haven and The Seasons in Yakima, Washington, have in common? They are former places of worship born again as performance halls. My story in the Leisure & Arts pages of today’s Wall Street Journal tells about a few of the dozens of such places.
The acoustical properties and central locations of old sanctuaries often make them ideal concert halls, but converted churches and synagogues find other performance uses as well. Across the Cascade Mountains from Yakima, Seattle’s Town Hall, another decommissioned Christian Science church, functions as a cultural kaleidoscope.
“When you take on the responsibility to preserve and extend the life of an old building,” says executive director Wier Harman, “it’s a process of discovering what kinds of works find their best expression here.”
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