About the Prior Performing Art 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.
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. It features the O’Connor Family Café, an innovative tea bar serving hot teas brewed to order along with a variety of iced teas, customizable Italian sodas, and snacks.
Luth Concert Hall
The 400-seat multipurpose proscenium theater is the College’s principal venue for music, theater and dance performances. Its unique design creates an intimate dynamic between audience and performer despite its unusually expansive stage. In concert configuration, the stage is framed by a shell of sustainably sourced Makore wood; in theatrical configuration, the shell can be removed, theatrical drapes hung, and additional flooring surfaces laid as necessary.
The 200-seat studio theater is a fully flexible performance space, inviting artistic experimentation by students, faculty, and visiting artists alike. Configurations include a 80- or 160-seat proscenium option; a 200-seat three-quarter thrust; or 200 seats in the round. The “Skywall” wall separating the Boroughs from the Beehive can be raised to create another entrance to the theater or to allow for continuous playing space or audience seating to flow out into the atrium.
Booth Media Lab
Opening onto the Beehive, the multimedia lab is home to digital music creation, sound and video editing, digital studio art, and film, lighting, and set design–among many other possible activities. When not in use as a studio classroom, it can be transformed into an open, flexible space for rehearsal, performance, or an arts installation.
The scene shop and costume shop are visible to visitors, showcasing traditionally behind-the-scenes labor and expertise. They serve not only as working laboratories but also as classrooms where students can learn the latest technologies in myriad fields.
Alden Trust Performance Studio
With sweeping views of Worcester and the Blackstone Valley, the performance studio is used for dance and music classes, rehearsals, and performance and special events.
Ensemble Room and Recording Studio
The completely soundproof ensemble room and the adjacent recording studio are used in tandem to create, record, mix, and master music.
Music Practice Rooms
The center’s four music practice rooms, each featuring an upright Steinway piano, are designed for use by individual artists or small groups. Reserve music practice room here.
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 the Patterson Amphitheatre and the Tony and Renee Marlon Foundation Courtyard, as well as other areas for meditation and creative work.