Making Art: Places and Spaces

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Performance Spaces, Venues, and Resources

Performance Spaces and Resources

“Our studios are active and vibrant, and provide a comfortable and essential space on campus for our students to feel relaxed and at home so that they can be free to be creative and innovative.”—Arts Department Head Sarah Surber

From Main Hall and the Arts and Humanities wing, to Taft’s properties on The Green and DeForest Street, arts spaces fill the extended Taft campus. Main Hall venues begin with Bingham Auditorium on one end; the Choral Room, Lincoln Lobby (a sweet-spot for a cappella sound), and Mark W. Potter Gallery dot the pathway to the Arts wing. The wing begins at the Main Hall intersection. To the right and in a multi-level space live the Woodward “Black Box” Theater, video production classroom, Pailey Dance Studio, Gayle Wynne Sculpture and Ceramics Studio, the digital recording studio in The Bristol Music Room, photography dark rooms and a digital design lab, and a number of music class and practice rooms, some equipped with pianos. At the other end of Main Hall is the upper-level Tremaine Art Studio, home to Taft’s painting, drawing, and design classes. A short walk from Main Campus takes you to Walker Hall and Woodward Chapel, stunning and historic vocal and instrumental music performance spaces. Look inside some of those spaces below.

Backstage views of Bingham Auditorium

Bingham Auditorium

Since 1930, Bingham Auditorium has been the main stage home to Taft’s theatrical and dance programs. The space was refurbished in 2015, restoring the light and luster to the facility—and, notably, to the beautiful woodwork—and taking the seating capacity to 592. Bingham boasts advanced technical facilities, memory console lighting equipment, and high tech, professional sound systems.

View of Bingham Auditorium from the stage

Bristol Music Room and Digital Recording Studio

The studio is a high-tech space overlooking one of the most beautiful spots on campus, Potter’s Pond. Students can record, edit, and mix vocal and instrumental tracks in the hi-def studio using Pro Tools, software used across the professional music industry.

A student records a song in the Bristol Music Room

The Choral Room

An intimate venue with an air of history, Collegium Musicum often rehearses and performs in the Choral Room; Taft’s chorus also practices in the room once each week. On Parents' Day, you may find our instrumental music groups in concert here, or even a theatrical performance. When alumni visit, they fondly remember the Choral Room as an upper school common room.


Mark W. Potter Gallery

The gallery honors the legacy of Mark Potter ’48, and his influence as a teacher and artist. The gallery hosts several exhibits throughout the school year, featuring works of professional artists, alumni artists, students, and faculty. Each exhibit is launched with an opening reception, often featuring food, music, and an opportunity to meet the featured artists. Visiting artists often conduct lectures and classroom sessions with students in Potter Gallery.



Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) technology is a music industry standard. It allows electronic musical instruments, computers and other high-tech devices to connect and communicate with one another. In our MIDI lab, Taft students compose and arrange music. Our Electronic Music and Music Theory classes use the MIDI lab for ear-training, sequencing, and composition.

Students working in the MIDI lab

Pailey Dance Studio

The Pailey Dance Studio is everything a dance studio should be: bright, open, and, in its vastness, a place of unlimited possibilities. It is a classroom and practice space, where students learn from dance faculty and an array of guest teachers and choreographers. Once two squash courts reimagined as a studio and made possible by the Pailey family, the space was dedicated in 2001.

Tremaine Art Studio

Built in 1914 as part of Horace Dutton Taft Hall, the Tremaine Art Studio was originally a study hall large enough to hold the full student body; it has been home to our painting and drawing classes since the 1970s. Thanks to the Tremaine family, the studio underwent a major transformation in 2011, designed to maximize the natural light in the space, while restoring the beauty of the woodwork, floors, and high ceilings.

Video Production Classroom and Laboratory

The recently renovated classroom and lab space has 10 Mac workstations equipped with a variety of professional editing software programs. Students have access to professional and state-of-the-art video cameras and support equipment, including lights, tripods, stabilizers, and microphones.

Walker Hall

With room for an audience of 100, Walker Hall is one of the more intimate performance venues on campus. It is also home to a Hamburg Steinway B, which features prominently in many of our concerts.

Built in 1883 and acquired by Taft in 2001, Walker Hall is older than any other structure on campus, with the exception of a few faculty homes. Fireplace tiles depicting scenes from Shakespearean plays hint at Walker Hall's beginnings as Watertown’s library; many alumni remember the building, which is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, as a Lutheran church.

Woodward Chapel

Woodward Chapel is home to many Music for a While performances, concerts by Collegium Musicum, and our annual Service of Lessons and Carols in December, and Service of Remembrance in May. It is also home to two exceptional instruments that feature prominently in our concerts, a Gress-Miles organ and a Steinway piano.

Installed in Woodward Chapel in 1968, Taft’s pipe organ is one of the premier instruments designed and built by the Gress-Miles Organ Company. Recent restoration work updated the organ’s console, refurbished its ivory keys and surrounding woodwork, and the added new digital stops. The introduction of fiber optics also makes the console mobile, allowing for greater versatility in performances.

In 2016, John H. Kilbourne '58 donated an exemplary 1997 Hamburg/New York Steinway B to Taft. A classic grand, the Model B is often referred to by pianists as “the perfect piano.”

Lessons & Carols performance in Woodward Chapel

Woodward Chapel Undercroft

From time to time throughout the year, the garden-level space at the historic Woodward Chapel transforms into an elevated performance venue. The “cabaret” at 25 The Green hosts a variety of jazz performances by faculty, alumni, professional performers. The connected kitchen allows guests to enjoy snacks and beverages.

Woodward “Black Box” Theater

Known familiarly as “The Black Box,” Woodward Theater seats 200 people, and hosts smaller-scale productions, workshops, and experimental theater. Like most black box theaters, Woodward’s size and relative simplicity allow for flexible staging, a focus on process, and a more intimate relationship between actor and audience. The theater was donated by the David, Helen, and Marian Woodward Fund.