The Charles Theatre, often referred to as simply The Charles, is the oldest movie theatre in Baltimore. The theatre is a Beaux-Arts building designed as a streetcar barn in 1892 by Jackson C. Gott, located in what is now the Station North arts and entertainment district. The theater was renamed the Charles (for its location on Charles Street) circa 1959 and became a calendar revival house in 1979. Many of John Waters's early films premiered at this theatre; this honor has since shifted to the Senator Theatre.
In 1999, it underwent a major expansion and is now a five-screen theater, though the original main theater has been left largely intact and is still the largest theater in the complex. The Charles now serves as an arthouse multiplex, showing a variety of independent films along with some major studio prestige pictures. The main theatre hosts revival series and special screenings several times a week, as well as the occasional live concert performance. The entire theater complex served as the host of the annual Maryland Film Festival from 1999 until 2013.
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