Ruth Eckerd Hall
1111 McMullen Booth Road
Clearwater, FL 33759
About Ruth Eckerd Hall
The Tampa area is known for its excellent performing arts venues and each year the region welcomes the top names in music, theater, dance, and other performing arts genres.
Clearwater's Ruth Eckerd Hall is part of that strong arts presence in the greater Tampa Bay vicinity. Named for the wife of drugstore chain owner, Jack Eckerd, this hall is a part of the Richard B. Baumgardner Center for the Performing Arts in Clearwater. Opened in 1983, it has been hosting great names in entertainment for 25 years.
Ruth Eckerd Hall boasts about 73,000 square feet of space and seats 2,180 audience members. Seating is arranged in the "continental" style, which refers to the fact that the auditorium has no center aisle, only side aisles. The cost of building this contemporary-style structure was $14.5 million, with much of the funds donated by the private sector. The hall sits on property donated in 1978 by the Kapok Tree Corporation and area residents rallied together to see that the project was realized, giving Clearwater its own performing arts venue.
A nationwide industry poll of artists, technicians, and artist management companies has dubbed this Clearwater hall one of the top five concert halls in the nation, thanks to its excellent acoustics and performance-friendly environment. Its popularity has resulted in the scheduling of more than 200 concerts and events each year, including many by The Florida Orchestra, which appears at Ruth Eckerd Hall on a regular basis.
Community groups are also welcome to lease the hall and many do so for public performances as well as private events.
The Ruth Eckerd Hall complex is also home to the Marcia P. Hoffman Performing Arts Institute. This is where the Baumgardner Center holds its on-site educational programs tailored for a variety of ages.
The institute offers everything from private lessons in voice, drama, and a number of instruments to master classes with top names in performing arts to short exploratory classes that allow both kids and adults to take advantage of a variety of short-term offerings in music and theater. Preparatory training for children and youth ages 7 to 19 is also available and is designed specifically for those considering a career in the performing arts.
Murray Studio Theater
The on-site Murray Studio Theater provides an intimate setting for performances that are best enjoyed by smaller audiences. Featuring a variety of offerings throughout the year, the Murray Theater is an excellent place to enjoy such genres as jazz, folk, and ethnic music. Humorists, comedians, and cabaret shows also appear here on a regular basis. Many shows sell out very quickly.
For the Family
Ruth Eckerd Hall also plays host to an annual Family Theater Series. Generally, performances run the length of the school year and the plays and musicals presented during that time feature subject matter that is of particular interest to students in the elementary school age range. Performances are just long enough to hold the attention of young audience members. Tickets are very affordable, often just $10 each.