Berklee Performance Center Will Mark 100th Anniversary with Two Special Events

The venue originally opened in 1915 as a lavish cinema called the Fenway Theatre.

berklee performance center anniversary events

Photo by Alex Lau

On December 20, 1915, the space at 136 Massachusetts Ave., now known as the Berklee Performance Center, first opened its doors to the public as the Fenway Theatre, a lavish cinema designed by noted architect Thomas Lamb, who a decade later would design the predecessor for the modern-day Madison Square Garden.

The Fenway Theatre continued to operate as a movie house into the 1960s, occasionally also being used for staging plays and hosting concerts. In the early 1970s, then-budding band Aerosmith used the venue as a rehearsal space.

In 1972, Berklee College of Music purchased the property, along with the adjoining Sherry Biltmore Hotel. Following four years of extensive renovation efforts, the school reopened the venue as the Berklee Performance Center, a 1,215-seat theater with state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems that now hosts more than 200 events every year.

To celebrate the venue’s 100th anniversary, Berklee is hosting two special performances in December.

On December 3, the school’s annual “Singers Showcase” will take on a “100 Years of Popular Music” theme, with student singers—chosen after a rigorous audition process—performing everything from Louis Armstrong to Adele.

Then, on December 16, Berklee will host “100 Years of Musical Theatre,” in which assistant professor of voice Rene Pfister and professor of music education Peter Cokkinias will lead the 23-member Berklee Musical Theater Ensemble and 18-piece Musical Theater Orchestra in a celebration of Broadway classics. The show will kick off with a film and live action sequence of Charlie Chaplin, as nod to the silent movies that once played at the Fenway Theatre.

Tickets for both shows are $8 in advance and $12 at the door. They can be purchased at or at the Berklee Performance Center box office, located at 136 Massachusetts Ave., Boston.