Emerson College's newest building, the Paramount Center, officially opened Thursday, March 18, with Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino illuminating the Paramount's original art deco marquee, which Emerson restored.
Emerson College President Jackie Liebergott, Chair of the Board of Trustees Peter Meade, Mayor Menino, and Emerson Executive Director for the Arts Rob Orchard spoke at the dedication. The ceremony was followed by a reception and several performances by Emerson students.
President Liebergott spoke of Emersons' role in the economic revival of Boston's Theatre District and adjoining neighborhoods. “The Paramount Center represents the latest—and I daresay greatest—chapter in a cooperative town-gown relationship between Emerson and the City of Boston, one that has enabled us to build our new Campus on the Common and house more students on campus.”
Meade praised President Liebergott and Mayor Menino as being instrumental in bringing the Paramount back to life and, in that regard, bringing new life to Lower Washington Street and the Theatre District.
“This is also an investment in our students and faculty at Emerson,” Meade said. “It's an investment in what they can do in this facility; the stories told, performances savored, lessons learned, and lives transformed.”
The College's new Office of the Arts, led by Orchard, will shape the public performances and opportunities available at not only the Paramount Center, but also at Emerson's Cutler Majestic Theatre, Semel Theater, and Greene Theater. Orchard plans to attract performers from across the United States and abroad who normally would not be seen in the Boston.
“The office will also connect with arts institutions and individuals to find 'Emerson Arts Partners,'” he said. “These partners will hold multiyear residencies at the College, developing work that will be tied into the College's curriculum and provide students and faculty with the opportunity to engage in the creative processes of some of the most distinguished and distinct artists working today.”
In addition to the 590-seat Paramount Theatre, The Paramount Center also houses an experimental black box theater, the Bright Family Screening Room, a sound stage, a scene/prop production shop, nine rehearsal studies, six practice rooms, four classrooms, 20 faculty offices, and a student gathering area. A commercial restaurant will be located on the street level.
The Paramount Center was designed by Elkus/Manfredi Architects of Boston and built by Bond Brothers. Construction began in the spring of 2007 and was completed in December 2009.