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Point Park University's Pittsburgh Playhouse

An artist's rendering of the new Pittsburgh Playhouse.

A classic theater viewing experience in Downtown Pittsburgh

The new Point Park University Pittsburgh Playhouse will be located on a 1.6-acre parcel on Forbes Avenue in Downtown Pittsburgh, within an officially designated redevelopment zone, as well as the Pittsburgh Center Keystone Innovation Zone.

Alongside other ongoing development efforts in this section of Downtown Pittsburgh — including The Tower at PNC Plaza (PNC's new world headquarters) and The Gardens at Market Square by Millcraft — the Playhouse will revive a dilapidated and underused corridor that connects the Grant Street business and finance hub with historic Market Square. It will serve as a gateway between Grant Street and Smithfield Street, and beyond.

The new Pittsburgh Playhouse will be a 24/7 operation with three different academic theatre spaces, a large scene shop, sound stage, prop shop, costume shop and café. It will become the heartbeat of Downtown Pittsburgh.

The community will be invited to watch 100 percent of production in the making, from the large windows on Forbes and Fourth Avenues to the large windows and stage doors inside.

The new Pittsburgh Playhouse will provide students and faculty with the academic facilities that a program of this caliber deserves.  It also will contribute significantly to Point Park’s growing campus in Downtown Pittsburgh.

The rundown

Gallery: The new Pittsburgh Playhouse

Campaign: The University has announced a $74 million campaign for the Pittsburgh Playhouse project.

To date, gifts and pledges of $42 million have been received, making the Playhouse Campaign the largest and most successful capital campaign in the University's history. Support includes $8 million from trustees, $11.6 million from foundations, $9 million from corporations and over $1 million from alumni and friends, as well as a $5 million state grant. The $9 million in corporate gifts comes from a group of corporations and represents significant investments from The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc., PNC Foundation and Highmark Health.

Including the sale of the playhouse in Oakland and gifts that are pending, the University will need to raise additional funds to complete the project. This includes a goal of raising an additional $5 million in conjunction with the opening of the new Playhouse in the fall of 2018.  

Size: Plans for the facility incorporate two historic structures — the University Center and the Stock Exchange Building — and a new, five-story, 92,000-square-foot addition.

Sustainability: The building will be LEED-certified and the Stock Exchange Building will be restored and used as a key part of the project. While the structural condition of the buildings at 320, 322 and 330 Forbes Ave. will not allow the existing facades to be preserved in their current location, the University has a plan to meticulously deconstruct them and reinstall them in the public outdoor courtyard. 

A reputation for preservation

Point Park’s University Center, which will be a part of the completed Pittsburgh Playhouse project, already has been extensively restored and maintained as a vibrant library and facilities for the Cinema Arts program. The Center is made up of four buildings, the oldest of which dates back to 1893.

Also part of the Playhouse will be the historic Stock Exchange Building, which was designed in 1903 by Charles Bartberger. Part of that work has entailed removing a flat ceiling, added in 1940, to expose the building’s original stained glass coffers.

While the buildings at 320, 322 and 330 Forbes Ave. were deconstructed to make way for the Playhouse, their most historic features — the facades — will be a significant part of the two-story, outdoor courtyard. Point Park has been working with Landmark Design Associates from the beginning, who documented the facades for careful dismantling and reinstallation.

Watch the progress unfold

With deconstruction complete, Point Park University officially broke ground this past winter and bulk excavation is underway to begin building the basement of the new Pittsburgh Playhouse. Community members can watch the development of the new Pittsburgh Playhouse with our construction cam, which allows viewers to watch the construction process unfold in real time 24/7.

Get involved

Interested in helping us complete this historic project? Want to tour the site? Contact us for more information.

Learn more

A project this grand has been years in the making. Read past coverage that has led us to this juncture to date: