It’s time to bring an often overlooked Downtown performance venue back into the limelight.

The Greer Cabaret Theater in Downtown’s Cultural District will undergo a series of renovations designed to revitalize the space and create a true “street-to-seat” experience for its patrons.

Both the Greer and Backstage Bar will be closed from August 2022 until April 2023 while improvements are made. The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, the owner of the theater and bar, plans to relocate cabaret programming during the renovation. The Theater Square Garage and Meat & Potatoes will remain open.

The Greer Cabaret Theater and the Backstage Bar host a variety of small plays and musicals (both off-Broadway and local productions) as well as more traditional jazz cabaret acts.

Greer Cabaret Theater. Photo courtesy of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

“We attract a wide audience, primarily from our 10-county region,” says Nick Gigane, senior vice president of development and real estate at the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

One of the greatest changes in the renovation is an expansion of the lobby, the Backstage Bar and the box office so that the space is more connected and streamlined. 

The Backstage Bar will be expanded to nearly three times its current size and the Greer Theater will be revamped with technology upgrades. Although the Greer Theater will lose about 50 seats from its current 250-seat capacity, the Trust believes that this change will create a more intimate space.

Rendering of the new Greer Cabaret Theater courtesy of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

With these changes, the Trust hopes that the Greer Theater can be more on par with the similar cultural institutions around the country, such as the renowned 54 Below in New York City.

“The Trust has 20 years of experience in understanding how both guests and performers want to interact with the space,” says Scott Shiller, senior vice president of artistic planning and theater utilization for the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. He also emphasized the importance of having the theater’s architecture “complement and highlight the stories on stage.”

The Trust is working with DLR Group, a design firm that played a large role in the revitalization of Cleveland’s theater district, and Moss Architects, a Pittsburgh-based architectural firm. 

The funding for this $6 million renovation is largely from the Eden Hall Foundation, but the Trust is seeking additional support.

Shiller hopes the revamped venue will be a “beacon of inclusivity” and entice more to venture into the vibrant world of the arts.

Yoori Kim is an aspiring journalist currently in her third year studying Professional Writing at Carnegie Mellon University. She is interning for NEXTpittsburgh for the summer and is excited to explore more of Pittsburgh.