Built in 1911, The Athenaeum building was conceived as a recreational center which would serve the mostly German neighborhood surrounding it. Over the years the Athenaeum also served as a girls commercial High School for St. Alphonsus Church, as well as a temporary Church after a devastating fire in the early 1950's. Today, the Athenaeum, under the direction of SCT Productions, continues its original mission as a recreational center for the neighborhood as well as the entire metropolitan area. Meeting rooms have been transformed into Studio Theatres and classrooms into affordable office space for young Arts organizations. A 949-seat proscenium auditorium attached to a Catholic church, this theater (which now includes a studio space) has long served as an outlet for community and professional theater. The former home of Chicago Opera Theater, it's currently a primary venue for the eclectic fare presented by Performing Arts Chicago and occasionally showcases commercial ventures as well as dance recitals. The studio has been rented to various plucky non-Equity theater companies. The seats are cramped and acoustics poor but sight lines are good.