The W97 building at MIT.

MIT Opens Its First Performing Arts Building

The building is the first space wholly dedicated to the arts on campus.

CAMBRIDGE, MASS.: Massachusetts Institute of Technology has announced the opening of its first building dedicated to the arts. The 25,000-square-foot building, called W97, will accommodate the school’s growing theatre arts program. The building will be dedicated on Nov. 16 and open with a production of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’s Everybody.

“Like the main group buildings at the heart of campus, W97 embodies and encourages MIT’s signature openness, flexibility, and boldness,” said MIT president L. Rafael Reif in a statement. “With a focus on making and creating, on fearless exploration and hands-on problem solving, the students and faculty of MIT’s Theater Arts community pursue their aspirations with mind, hand, heart, body, and soul. I am delighted that at last they have a space that lives up to the quality of their creativity.”

The building, designed by Boston’s designLAB Architects, includes a two-story flexible black-box theatre with 150-180 seats, rehearsal spaces, design studios, offices, and dressing rooms. This new facility will allow for continued development of the theatre research program, which is focused on experimental works and performance. The new space may also allow for a small, focused graduate program.

“MIT’s arts programs are integral to the Institute’s mission and vitally important to our students,” said Evan Ziporyn, section head of Music & Theater Arts and faculty director of MIT’s Center for Art, Science, and Technology in a statement. “The phenomenal growth of theatre arts, despite the lack of a dedicated facility, has been one significant indicator of the students’ motivation to pursue the arts. We’re thrilled that MIT has responded by building the first dedicated performing arts facility in its history, and we’re certain it will be transformative for the program, the community, and our students.”

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