Writers Theatre opens new $28m centre in Chicago

Writers Theatre, in the north Chicago suburb of Glencoe, has moved to a brand new theatre centre designed by architects Studio Gang with help from theatre experts Auerbach Pollock Friedlander (APF). The project was funded by campaign On to a New Stage, which so far has raised USD33m (€29.8m).

The new building includes the 250-seat Alexandra C and John D Nichols Theatre as well as the 99-seat black box Gillian Theatre. Writers Theatre stages a full season of productions, and reaches 10,000 students in the Chicago area through its outreach efforts.

‘Writers Theatre was glad to have the counsel of APF as our theatre consultants in the design and construction our new home,’ said Writers Theatre general manager Jon Faris. ‘APF was with us from day one – from dreaming about what our theatre could be to ensuring that every last piece of theatrical equipment worked.’

Recreating the look and feel of Writers Theatre’s former spaces was a key part of the project. ‘The size of each venue has essentially doubled, yet each theatre’s form and intimate feel is similar to Writers’ original spaces,’ said APF chairman and director of design S Leonard Auerbach.

Creating its first permanent home is projected to cost Writers Theatre USD34m once design, construction and operating costs are factored in. The philanthropist-funded On to a New Stage campaign also includes a cash reserve to ensure the theatre’s financial stability in the future.

‘It is vital to take this moment to acknowledge the passion and commitment of our foundational donors who have simply taken my breath away with the scope of their generosity and vision,’ commented artistic director Michael Halberstam.

Writers Theatre’s launched its new home with Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia (16 March – 1 May), a 19th century tale of secret desires, illicit affairs and professional rivalries. Second City’s Death of a Streetcar Named Virginia Woolf: A Parody (27 April – 17 July) and Stephen Sondheim’s Company (15 June – 24 July) completes its first season in the facility.