Originally built in 1903 as the Gayety Theater, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust purchased this 1300-seat venue in 1988. Then called the Fulton Theater, The Trust renovated and reopened the venue in 1991. The theater was renamed the Byham Theater in 1995, in recognition of a gift from William C. and Carolyn M. Byham. Today, the Byham Theater is home to a wide variety of performing arts, including dance, music, theater, film, and family-friendly events held throughout the year.
The Gayety ran for many years as one of the country's foremost stage and vaudeville houses, with appearances from such stars as Ethel Barymore, Gertrude Lawrence, and Helen Hayes. The venue boasted pressed copper cherubs painted with a bronze patina, imitation gold leaf, stained glass windows, plaster columns, and wainscot of scagolia, an Italian faux marble technique. The entry vestibule showcases the original mosaic tile floor and the large original lighting fixtures are artifacts from the advent of electrical lighting. Backstage, the theater was one of the remaining few to use sandbags and hemp ropes to work the scenery rigging until 1999 when a modern rigging system was installed. In the 1930s, the theater was renamed the Fulton and became a full time movie theater.
Following the first of four planned phases of renovation, the Fulton was reopened in May 1991 and the old lighted Fulton marquee was restored by the State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg. The second phase of renovations brought new restrooms, box office, marquee, an elevator, lobby improvements, and facade changes. In 1997, the Cherub Lobby was restored to its original splendor. The third phase of renovation in 1999 updated the theater rigging system, enlarged the orchestra pit, and provided new HVAC for the entire building. As funding becomes available, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust continues to enhance the Byham Theater to address improvements in theater technology.
The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has overseen one of Pittsburgh’s most historic transformations: turning a seedy red-light district into a magnet destination for arts lovers, residents, visitors, and business owners. Founded in 1984, The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is a non-profit arts organization whose mission is the cultural and economic revitalization of a 14-block arts and entertainment/residential neighborhood called the Cultural District. The District is one of the country’s largest land masses “curated” by a single nonprofit arts organization. A major catalytic force in the city, The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is a unique model of how public-private partnerships can reinvent a city with authenticity, innovation and creativity. Using the arts as an economic catalyst, The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has holistically created a world-renowned Cultural District that is revitalizing the city, improving the regional economy and enhancing Pittsburgh’s quality of life. Thanks to the support of foundations, corporations, government agencies and thousands of private citizens, the Trust stands as a national model of urban redevelopment through the arts.
|Programs||Music performances, Dance performances, Theater performances|