Florida State University Center for the Performing Arts, Mertz Theatre
The Dunfermline Opera House in Dunfermline, Scotland opened in 1903, and was celebrated for it’s baroque elegance. In 1921, it was remodeled into a movie house and outfitted with many ornate aesthetic improvements, but in the decades that followed, the venue fell into disrepair. Eventually in 1955, it was converted into a storage facility for electrical goods—its former prominence and sophistication all but forgotten. In 1982, the theatre was set for demolition, but preservationists with the help of Theatre Projects stepped in to help.
Every detail of the auditorium and stage was measured, recorded, and carefully dismantled and placed in storage—this included the plasterwork, ornate cornices, wall panels, friezes, ceiling arches, and carved box fronts. Four years later, when the Asolo Repertory Theatre was looking for a new main stage, the contents were shipped across the Atlantic and reassembled within a new exterior as part of FSU’s Center for the Performing Arts. Although the outside may look different, the auditorium remains the same elegant and inviting theatre—albeit with 500 seats instead of the original 1,250—that opened nearly a century before, 4,000 miles away from Sarasota.
- 500-seat multipurpose theatre