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Chesapeake Shakespeare Company gets new venue

The Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, which for the last 10 years has offered the Bard’s plays as well as other classic productions in the ruins at the Patapsco Female Institute in Ellicott City, will soon have another venue — an indoor one — near the Inner Harbor in Baltimore.

“We’re not leaving our Howard County home and audiences; we are looking at serving others in downtown Baltimore,” says Ian Gallanar, founding artistic director. “We wanted to find a strategic place (and) our city location is two blocks off the Inner Harbor with parking one block in either direction.”

The theater will be housed in the Mercantile Trust and Deposit Co. building, which survived the Great Fire of 1904. A $6 million renovation will begin in January 2013, with financial support coming from the Helm Foundation — Scott Helm being one of the trustees of the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company. When complete, the 20,000-square-foot theater will have seating for about 300.

Plans for the interior include “a modern interpretation of the Globe’s architecture,” says Gallanar, referring to London’s Globe Theatre.

The company intends to offer five or six plays in the Baltimore location, with two other productions in Howard County. Education programs will be offered yearround. “After-school programs, summer camps … more and more a part of our organization has been education — it’s our mission,” says Gallanar.

Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, 200 E. Redwood St., Baltimore. 410-313-8661,, or

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