Designed as a new home for Arena Stage by architect Harry Weese, the venue opened as the Arena Theater in October 1961 with the U.S. premiere of Brecht's The Caucasion Chalk Circle. The in-the-round configuration seated 800+. It was commonly referred to as "the Arena".
In 1992 the venue was renamed the Fichandler Stage in honor of the founders of Arena Stage: Zelda Fichandler and Thomas C. Fichandler.
From 2007 to 2010, the greater Arena Stage complex underwent extensive renovations and was formally named Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater. As part of the acoustic renovations, the Fichandler's box seats were eliminated and the seating capacity was reduced to 683.