History of the IOH Building

Before It Was Theatre Project
The building that currently houses Theatre Project was constructed in 1887 by the Improved Order of Heptasophs, (neo-Greek for “seven wise men”) a fraternal and beneficiary organization.  It cost $40,000 to build and was called Heptasoph Hall.  In 1924, the IOH moved locations, leaving the building to become Farson’s Dance Academy.  As a dance hall, the building housed Farson’s jazz and marching bands and was a popular place to go dancing on a Saturday night.  In the 1950’s, it served as a recreation center and school for the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation right across the street.  In 1963, it served as CENTERSTAGE's first Baltimore home.  When CENTERSTAGE left for its new facility, the basement and second floor were abandoned while the offices of American Realty Company, owners of the building, were housed in the first floor. 

As Theatre Project
In 1971, Philip Arnoult, Theatre Project’s founder, and Antioch College’s theatre program, rented the building.  It underwent major renovations, first in 1972 and again in 1985.  In 1994, the front stairs were taken out and chair lifts were added to make Theatre Project handicap-accessible.  Today, Theatre Project boasts a 33’ x 35’ stage backed by a 20’ acoustic dome, the largest interior bandshell in the country.  The house has 150 stadium-style seats; the view from every seat is unobstructed.