Civic’s Nineteenth Street Theatre
Civic’s Nineteenth Street Theatre is a beloved architectural landmark in the city’s West End, an area which includes a lively residential neighborhood and business district. The Theatre was originally designed as a movie palace by master architects Thalheimer & Weitz of Philadelphia. It was built in 1928 at the cost of $500,000 ($3.5 million in today’s dollars). Thalheimer & Weitz designed ten other theatres in the Philadelphia-New Jersey area, but only the Nineteenth Street Theatre and one other remain active.
Designed in the “High Art Deco Style,” Civic Theatre’s interior and exterior are relatively intact with exterior ceramic tiles and ornamentation, interior carvings, original deco lights and ceiling medallion. The building is structurally sound, but it is in need of upgrades and restoration.
In addition to the historic theatre, Civic also operates a black box theatre, Theatre514, located at 514 N. 19th Street. Theatre514 accommodates up to 80 patrons and serves as an alternate location for plays and films. The Theatre is also used for rehearsals and acting classes by the Civic Theatre School. In addition, the building contains a workshop for scenery construction and storage.
Civic’s Rehearsal Studio
The second floor — just above the 19th Street Theatre — is the home to Civic’s rehearsal studio and costume shop. These facilities are heavily used as rehearsal space for Civic productions as well as for the Civic Theatre School. Community meetings are also occasionally held in this space.