The Prior Performing Arts Center at the College of the Holy Cross
About the Prior Performing Arts Center
A hub for academic and artistic innovation, the Prior Performing Arts Center invites creative thinkers to come together in collaboration and discovery.
Opened in fall 2022, the Prior Performing Arts Center offers world-class spaces to experience and train in the performing and creative arts. It also catalyzes transformational exchange between the arts and other disciplines. Here, inclusive learning and research are supported by state-of-the-art performance, multimedia, and exhibition technology, as well as by architectural elements promoting flexibility, collectivity, and process. The Prior Performing Arts Center invokes the Jesuit tenet that active learning in the arts is fundamental to a liberal arts education. And it demonstrates Holy Cross’ belief in the arts’ uncommon power to pose—and to advance—the pressing questions of our day.
About the building
The 84,000-square-foot Prior Performing Arts Center is designed by architectural firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro, whose other cultural projects include the High Line, The Shed, Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, and the ICA Boston.
The heart of the building, the Beehive is a playground for study and performance, encouraging collaboration via flexible work spaces and multipurpose rehearsal and performance areas. Surrounding the Beehive are four pavilion spaces: the Multipurpose Theater, the Studio Theater, Art/Media, and Practice/Production.
Luth Concert Hall
The 400-seat multipurpose proscenium theater is the College’s principal venue for music, theater and dance performances, featuring an exquisite design that makes the hall feel intimate for events of all sizes.
The 200-seat studio theater is a fully flexible performance space, inviting artistic experimentation by students, faculty, and visiting artists alike.
Booth Media Lab
Opening onto the Beehive, the multimedia lab is home to digital music creation, sound and video editing, and film, lighting and set design. The lab’s novel design allows it to quickly transition from a studio classroom into a space for performance or arts installation.
Production Spaces and Rehearsal Rooms
The scene shop, costume shop, recording studio, lighting and set design studios, and multiuse practice rooms are all visible to visitors, showcasing traditionally behind-the-scenes labor and expertise. The shops and studios serve not only as working laboratories but also as classrooms where students can execute their own designs and experiment with the latest technologies in myriad fields. Two bright, large-scale rehearsal areas offer sweeping views of Worcester, the Blackstone Valley, and the east side of campus.
Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery
For nearly four decades, the Cantor Gallery has promoted and supported the intellectual and cultural life of the College through its exhibitions and acquisitions, both historical and contemporary. A custom-designed new location in the Prior Performing Arts Center includes a stunning display area, a workroom for presentation and preservation, and a studio space for displaying works in a seminar setting.
The PAC’s outdoor spaces include an amphitheater for screenings and performances, as well as gardens for meditation and creative work
“Many education spaces are very prescribed. We wanted to provide a space so welcoming and flexible students would feel compelled to make it their own.”
Charles Renfro, Lead Architect, in The New York Times
Cornelius B. Prior, Jr. ’56
Former trustee and current Board of Advisors member Cornelius B. Prior Jr. ’56 is a man whose deep affection for the arts and for Holy Cross have inspired his generous cornerstone gifts to his alma mater. A longtime champion of the arts at the College, Prior’s philanthropic support has been varied, extensive, and ongoing. His vision and leadership ensure that Holy Cross will be a fount of creativity and imagination for years to come, enabling countless students the opportunity to experience the arts and pursue their creative passions.
Support the Arts at Holy Cross
Art has the power to ignite the imagination, to transform thinking and to open a window to the world around us. With your support, we’ll infuse the arts into every aspect of the Holy Cross experience.