From theater groups to dance troupes, artists find refuge in Oakland’s Flight Deck

OAKLAND — For more than 30 years, the storefront at 1540 Broadway in downtown Oakland sat vacant, its roof open to the elements and windows boarded shut, until an upstart theater ensemble saw its potential.

Now just over 3 years old, the Flight Deck is more than a performance venue: It’s home to four resident theater companies, provides office and work space for another 10 organizations and dozens of individual artists, and serves as a visual arts gallery. Centered in the heart of Oakland’s high-rise construction boom, where eight buildings in various stages of completion are expected to host more than 2,000 residential units, the Flight Deck is also a refuge, offering stability in a city undergoing significant change.

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