BAM presented its first show in 1861, making it the nation's first performing-arts center. Today it has a much-deserved reputation for the unusual and the unexpected, presented in grand-scale stagings. Contemporary dance, theater, music, opera, and cross-media productions mingle here with an array of classics. BAM has three primary performance spaces: the 2,090-seat Howard Gilman Opera House, inside a restored Renaissance Revival palace built in 1908; the 834-seat
Harvey Theater, an updated 1904 theater a block away, at 651 Fulton Street; and the BAM Fisher, at 321 Ashland Place, which includes the 250-seat Fishman Space and the Hillman Studio. Every fall the Next Wave Festival fills the house with a global mix of renowned and up-and-coming artists. Every spring brings a top-notch roster of international theater (such as works performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company). Year-round you can catch a movie at the four-screen BAM Rose Cinemas, which screens classic films as well as first-run indies, documentaries, and international films. Or, hit the industrial-glam BAMcafé for the Eat, Drink & Be Literary series on select Wednesday nights, and free music on Friday and Saturday nights with the BAMcafé Live series.