Showtime at the Schuster Center


Kristy Alpert
Published August 04, 2017

When the first visitors entered through the auditorium doors of the brand-new Mead Theatre that March night in 2003, a collective gasp could be heard as everyone caught sight of the marvelous scene above.

Nearly 70,000 people attended the open house to witness the dramatic rebirth of Dayton’s artistic community at the grand opening of the Benjamin and Marian Schuster Performing Arts Center. When the lights dimmed, all eyes were drawn to the grand dome ceiling instead of the stage as the dome lit up to display 780 fiber optic lights arranged in the exact star pattern that Orville and Wilber Wright saw on the night before their first flight on December 16, 1903.

Now in its 14th season, the Benjamin and Marian Schuster Performing Arts Center has continued to pay homage to the creative vision that has always woven a vital thread in the fabric of Dayton, Ohio. The center was designed by celebrated architect Cesar Pelli, the man responsible for Cincinnati’s Aronoff Center for the Arts and the Petronas Twin Towers in Kavala Lumpur in Malaysia.

The Schuster Center encompasses a performing-arts center and an office/condominium tower joined together by a glass-enclosed atrium known as the Wintergarden. Within the Schuster Center, guests will find the 2,300-seat Mead Theatre, the Mathile Theatre, and Citilites restaurant and bar. The entire space acts as a world-class facility where local, national, and international performing artists take to the stage to provide entertainment to the citizens of Dayton and beyond.

Aside from being the home of the Dayton Opera, the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, the Victoria Theatre Association and select Dayton Ballet productions, the center is a fantastic space for hosting meetings for 20 to 20,000 guests. The center has hosted silent auctions and cocktail receptions in the lobbies, galas in the Wintergarden and company meetings in the Donor Lounges and the Mathile Theatre. The dramatic spaces provide the perfect stage for hosting events and meetings, and with the dedicated meeting staff, every event at the Schuster Center is a show-stopping performance.

Meeting Spaces

The Benjamin and Marian Schuster Performing Arts Center boasts four unique spaces for hosting meetings, receptions, events and more. All the spaces are wheelchair accessible and feature a variety of setup arrangements. The center’s flexible meeting spaces include the Schuster Center Wintergarden for up to 1,000 guests, the Schuster Center Mead Theatre Stage for up to 2,325 guests in the auditorium and 500 on the stage, the Schuster Center Donor Rooms for up to 150 guests combined and the Schuster Center Mathile Theatre for up to 250 guests. The spaces are also available for rent for private performances.


Catering at the Schuster Center is handled by the culinary team from Citilites, the full-service restaurant and bar at the center, and features a range of menus, including dishes created by executive chef Matthew DeAngulo. Catering and banquet services are available to suit nearly every occasion, and the culinary team prepares wide-ranging menus that include traditional favorites as well as specialty fare. The team works with local vendors and suppliers such as Hill Family Farms, Evans Bakery and Warped Wing Brewery, and their house-made soups, salad dressings and desserts are among some of the favorites for meeting groups and theatergoers alike. Alcohol is available.

Before and After Events

Aside from the convenience of being able to catch any number of award-winning performances held before or after events — the Victoria Theatre Association presents more than 300 performances each year — guests will have access to all of Dayton’s top entertainment options, as the Schuster center is in the heart of downtown. The downtown area is buzzing with activity all hours of the day: quaint cafes for enjoying a morning cup of coffee, numerous parks for people watching during the day and famous jazz clubs open late for visitors looking to see where greats like Louis Armstrong once jammed.


Meeting and event groups looking to catch a performance at the Benjamin and Marian Schuster Performing Arts Center while in town can purchase group tickets for a discounted price; group rates are available for groups of 10 to 20 people, depending on the show. Performance groups are also able to rent out the theater at the center and will have access to dressing rooms that hold more than 100 performers, as well as wardrobe and styling rooms, a laundry area, a meet-and-greet media area and a performers lounge. Three separate loading docks make it possible to load and unload three trailers simultaneously.

Benjamin and Marian Schuster Performing Arts Center

Location: Dayton, Ohio

Type of Venue: Off-site, theater

Capacity: 2,325 guests

Nearby Accommodations: Dayton Grand Hotel

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