Santander Performing Arts Center

Last updated
Santander Performing Arts Center
Rajah Theatre; Rajah Temple
Santander Performing Arts Center
Address136 N. 6th Street
Reading, Pennsylvania
United States
Coordinates 40°20′16″N75°55′34″W / 40.33778°N 75.92611°W / 40.33778; -75.92611 Coordinates: 40°20′16″N75°55′34″W / 40.33778°N 75.92611°W / 40.33778; -75.92611
Owner Santander Bank
Capacity 1,752
Years active1922-present

The Santander Performing Arts Center (formerly known as the Rajah Theatre or Rajah Temple, and Sovereign Performing Arts Center) is a historic theatre in Reading, Pennsylvania. It is the current home of the Reading Symphony Orchestra and the "Broadway on 6th St" annual series of musicals and plays. [1]


Built in 1922 under the name The Rajah Temple, it was second structure owned by the Shriners that operated as a dual purpose public theatre and temple for the masons in the city of Reading and the third building to be known as the Rajah Temple. [2] The first Rajah Temple was originally the St. Matthew Lutheran Church property at Pearl and Franklin Streets, which was purchased by the Shriners in 1892. [2] In 1917 the Shriners purchased the Academy of Music, a theatre in Reading, and relocated their temple to that location where it continued to operate as the Rajah Temple and Rajah Theatre for public performances and freemason events. [2] That structure was destroyed by fire on May 21, 1921. [2]

In November 1922 construction began on the current theatre. It operated as a performance arts venue for vaudeville, operas, concerts, plays, and a movie theatre at various times during the 20th century. [2] In 2000 the Berks County Convention Center Authority oversaw the acquisition and renovation of the theatre by Sovereign Bank; who rebranded the theater as the Sovereign Performing Arts Center. [1] Sovereign Bank was rebranded as Santander Bank on October 17, 2013; and the performing arts center for which it has naming rights were also rebranded. [3] It is now the home of the Reading Symphony Orchestra and the "Broadway on 6th St" annual series of musicals and plays. [1]

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  1. 1 2 3 Mark S. Rosentraub (2014). Reversing Urban Decline: Why and How Sports, Entertainment, and Culture Turn Cities Into Major League Winners, Second Edition. Taylor & Francis. p. 314.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 Charles Jesse Adams (2000). Reading in Vintage Postcards. Arcadia Publishing. pp. 105–107.
  3. GOSSELIN, KENNETH R. "Sovereign Bank Name Changes To Santander". Retrieved 2019-03-08.