The NORTH SHORE CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS IN SKOKIE is a dynamic two-theater complex operating as part of the Village of Skokie’s plan to provide cultural, literary and educational programs to benefit Chicago’s North Shore. The facility features an 867-seat mainstage theater and a convertible 318-seat theater. The North Shore Center presents a Feature Series of entertainment spanning numerous genres and styles, an educational performing arts program, YOUTHEATRE and the annual Showcase for performers for young audiences. The Center is home to producing theater company Northlight Theatre, Skokie Valley Symphony Orchestra, Ars Viva Symphony Orchestra, Music of the Baroque and numerous other cultural organizations and special rental events each year.
HISTORY | North Shore Center was designed by architect Graham Gund and opened in November 1996. In 1998, the North Shore Center was presented with the National Commercial Builder’s Award of Excellence Merit Award. The facility is owned by the Centre East Metropolitan Exposition Auditorium and Office Building Authority whose members are appointed by the Village of Skokie and Niles Township. Since its inception, the facility has been managed by Professional Facilities Management, Inc.
FACILITY | North Shore Center is 69,000 square feet on two acres containing two state-of-the-art ADA compliant and handicapped accessible performing arts theater spaces, dressing rooms, backstage artist amenities, a 6,000 square foot atrium-style grand lobby ideal for parties and receptions, Rice Rehearsal Hall and two conference rooms. There are 1,500 free parking spaces including adjacent parking garage and hotel lot. Center Theatre contains 867 total seats, 527 on the main floor, 300 in the balcony and forty seats in side boxes. The adjustable lift orchestra pit creates a stage extension when at stage level. The Center Theatre is regarded as a warm intimate space with perfect acoustics for any-sized performance. The furthest seat is only 80 feet away from the stage. Northlight Theatre has 318 seats in its stage configuration or is convertible into a 7,400 square foot ballroom for weddings, receptions & trade shows with 550 person capacity.
EVENTS | Approximately 200,000 people annually attend events at the North Shore Center. The Feature Series provides a variety of world-class entertainment to the community by presenting approximately 40 performances each season. Thirty YOUTHEATRE performances provide critical supplemental arts education to more than 18,000 Chicago area school children annually. The Center also hosts private events such as weddings, conferences and trade shows. The North Shore Center has hosted performances by Lewis Black, The Capitol Steps, Bill Cosby, Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, Al Franken, Kathy Griffin, Marvin Hamlisch, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Chris Isaak, Joffrey Ballet, Queen Latifah, Bill Maher, Rita Moreno, Bob Newhart, Paula Poundstone, Joan Rivers, Neil Sedaka, Mavis Staples, Lilly Tomlin, Twyla Tharp Dance Company, George Wendt, and more. Reflecting the true diversity of the surrounding North Shore communities, events representing numerous nationalities are held at the Center each year—many performed in their respective languages. These include Korean, Polish, Indian, Israeli, Russian, Filipino, Japanese, Romanian, and Ukrainian events.