Once again, a sprawling, mural-festooned Station North warehouse is ringing with the wail of power drills, the belting of high notes, and the cracking of Natty Boh cans—in short, the sounds of the Baltimore Rock Opera Society (aka BROS) bringing one of its dynamic creations to life.
Five months ago, work at their rehearsal and workshop space was abruptly halted when, citing safety violations, city officials shuttered the building known as the Bell Foundry, which was also home to about a dozen people. (The closure came days after a fire destroyed an artist-run warehouse in Oakland, California.) The BROS have since brought the headquarters up to code and moved back in.
But the abrupt displacement underscored a need for the 8-year-old organization—known for boisterous, irreverent productions that chronicle characters like superhero Stardust Lazerdong—to find a new home, complete with a performance venue and room for educational opportunities.
The BROS—which includes hundreds of volunteers who help with sets, music composition, and performance—is considering spaces all over the city, including downtown and Station North. Executive director Aran Keating is hoping for support from the city, and fans, to make it happen. (The BROS even released a digital greatest hits compilation as a fundraiser.)
“I want to be the thing that your friends who are visiting from out of town have to check out. It’s something that doesn’t exist anywhere else, and it’s incredibly valuable for Baltimore to say it has long-term arts organizations that are stable but also crazy, dynamic, and weird,” Keating says. “In the same way that we love to wear John Waters or the American Visionary Art Museum on our sleeves, this is what Baltimore needs and should be cultivating.”