From the altar of what once was an 18th-century Catholic church, performers now get different types of congregations jumping and dancing. Nationally-recognized acts spanning all genres of music from indie to hip hop, rock to electronica make pilgrimages to Mr. Small’s Funhouse, located a stone’s throw from downtown Pittsburgh.
In addition to a 650-person capacity music theater in the church’s nave and chancel – complete with spectrally-lit stained glass windows and a looming choir loft repurposed as a balcony – the building also houses a maze of outdoor terraces and an assortment of smaller, DJ club rooms. No part of the extensive grounds went unused: in the so-called Rectory House, the former quarters of the church’s clergy forum became a backstage area reserved for touring bands and crew; the large, underground cellar of the building became a draft beer bunker serving food and brews to concertgoers as well as the general public, until late into the night.
There is even a skate park. Hallelujah.
Across the street, Mr. Small’s owners have bought a second abandoned church, with plans of transforming it into a recording studio, café, and musical instruments store.