Santander Performing Arts Center
The Santander Performing Arts Center is known for bringing some of the hottest acts in show business to Reading, PA and Berks County.
The historic venue is highlighted by the latest cutting edge technology, highest level professional grade sound system available and advanced engineered acoustics. The main theater holds 1,700 guests for a variety of shows including our Broadway series, rock concerts, family events & more.
The Santander Performing Arts Center was built in the 1870s as a market, with a Masonic Temple on its upper floors. It became the Academy of Music in 1886. The Rajah Shriners purchased it in 1917 to use the building for various activities including vaudeville, motion pictures, and live appearances. The auditorium was rebuilt in 1921 after a fire destroyed most of the facility. At the turn of the 21st Century, the Rajah Theater was the only downtown movie palace of its kind to survive.
Its sister palaces, the Astor (replaced by the Santander Arena), Embassy and Loew's Colonial, had all been demolished. Today, the Santander Performing Arts Center is home to the Reading Symphony Orchestra and the Broadway on 6th Street series. It has also hosted numerous different events. Willie Nelson, Dave Chappelle, Little Big Town, Jo Koy, Taylor Tomlinson, Jerry Seinfeld, David Copperfield, Melissa Etheridge, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Chris Cornell and Mannheim Steamroller are just a few of the shows that have been seen at the theater.