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Bing Thom’s new Arena Stage

There’s always a lot of talk in Washington about creating a “big tent” that embraces diversity, and now the capital finally has one—literally: architect Bing Thom’s new Arena Stage at the Mead Center, an arts complex—D.C.’s second-largest, after the Kennedy Center—that locates the company’s two preexisting landmark theaters and a new black-box stage, each of which offers different programming, behind 45-foot-high glass walls and beneath a sharply cantilevered 130-by-500-foot steel roof. Curtain up!

The original Arena Stage complex, designed by Harry Weese, included the 680-seat Fichandler Stage (1961)—the country’s first permanent theater-in-the-round facility—and, a decade later, the thrust-stage 500-seat Kreeger Theatre, both now listed as historic structures.

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