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Baton Rouge Performing Arts Theater will receive an $18.1 Million Refurbishment
Posted on June 7, 2017




June 5, 2017 – Baton Rouge, LA.  —  Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome today announced that the , and once again be the shining home for the best of arts in the Capital Region.  The theater, which currently seats just under 2,000 patrons, was originally built in 1977, and has had very little done to upgrade it since.  The new design will slightly reduce the capacity, but will greatly improve the overall theater experience with expanded lobby, guest services, and improved seats and aisles. The theater is owned by the City of Baton Rouge and managed by SMG.

“The theater will be a beautiful and exciting venue for patrons of all ages to enjoy a wide variety of live entertainment,” said Mayor-President Broome. “This adds to our growing, dynamic arts portfolio here in Baton Rouge.”

In December of 2015, the City published a Request for Proposals for the design of the theater refurbishments.  Last year the City awarded the Architectural contract to Post Architects.  After a number of meetings with key stakeholders to review design options, Mayor Broome agreed to the current design scope.  “The theater will be a beautiful and exciting home for our patrons to enjoy our Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, The Baton Rouge Ballet, and all the great Broadway shows and concerts that play here” said Mayor Broome.

The Performing Arts Theater hosts approximately 175 event days each year, and is home for the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, The Baton Rouge Ballet, The Baton Rouge Broadway Series, along with a number of dance schools and concerts.  “The new design of the theater focusses on improving the patron experiences while maintaining the warm sound qualities that the theater is famous for”, said Architect Skipper Post, who’s firm has teamed up with HMS Architects to design the improvements to the theater.

“It’s been years in development.  We are so excited to finally share these plans with our patrons that will greatly improve the guest services in the theater”, said General Manager Michael Day.  “The exterior design and lighting will reflect the theme or mood of the shows each night, and the interior will allow our guests to get in and out of their seats with ease”, Day added.  The new design will include a number of VIP boxes with larger seats and additional amenities, VIP Lounges, expanded and improved ADA access and seating, additional isles and cross isle for ease of getting into and out of the seating area, and expanded bathrooms and concessions.  Day added that the VIP Boxes will have drink service staff at select shows.

“The upcoming renovations to Baton Rouge’s Theater for the Performing Arts represent one of the most significant investments to our city’s cultural life we have ever seen, said Timothy Muffitt, Music Director, Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra.  Muffitt went on to say, “The enhancements to food and beverage services, cabaret-style seating, new spaces for receptions and special events, and even box seating are outstanding.  This renovation is ultimately a game-changer in how we will appreciate live music in our city for generations to come”

The design work should be completed the first quarter of next year, with General Contractor bids received in early spring of next year, and construction beginning mid-year.  The Theater is expected to re-open sometime late 2019 or very early 2020.


About SMG

The River Center Performing Arts Theater is managed by SMG.  SMG turns 40 in 2017! Celebrating its 40th anniversary and founded in 1977, SMG provides management services to 233 public assembly facilities including convention and exhibition centers, arenas, stadiums, theaters, performing arts centers, amphitheaters, equestrian facilities, science centers and a variety of other venues. With facilities across the globe, SMG manages more than 15 million square feet of exhibition space and more than 1.5 million sports and entertainment seats. As the recognized global industry leader, SMG provides venue management, sales, marketing, event booking and programming, construction and design consulting, and pre-opening services for such landmark facilities as McCormick Place & Soldier Field in Chicago, Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, Houston’s NRG Park and the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. SMG also offers food and beverage operations through its concessions and catering companies, currently serving more than 140 accounts worldwide. For more information visit

About the Architects

Post Architects + HMS Architects have joined together to provide architectural services for the City of Baton Rouge and Theatre patrons with a team that provides critical existing facility knowledge, theatre expertise and exceptional design.  Their team includes numerous consultants (local and national) to provide the specialized design elements unique to theaters.

Post Architects is a Baton Rouge based firm with nearly 50 years of continuous architectural practice in the Capital Region specializing in Civic, Religious, Master Planning and Commercial Architecture.  Founded in 1968 by Raymond “Skipper” Post, FAIA, the firm’s most notable works include the expansion and renovation of the River Center Convention Center, Christ the King Catholic Church and Student Center, the Capitol Park Master Plan and the 19th Judicial District Courthouse.  Post has worked on River Center projects large and small for some 18 years with Skipper as Project Manager and Lisa H. Nice, AIA, as Project Architect.  Ms. Nice joined the firm in 1996 and became a partner in 2008.  The firm brings with them invaluable knowledge of the existing River Center facilities.

HMS Architects is a New Orleans based firm and joins Post’s team to provide expertise in theater renovation and design.  A few of HMS’ notable theatre projects include LSU’s Union Theater, Robinson Hall and Thrust Theater.

Renderings of the proposed Post + HMS design:


Proposed New River Center Theatre for the Performing Arts Entry Design


Proposed New River Center Theatre for the Performing Arts Auditorium Design

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