Frequently Asked Questions
ABOUT THE PROJECT
Who designed the new theatre?
The new theatre center was designed by the award-winning, internationally renowned Studio Gang Architects, led by Founder & Design Principal Jeanne Gang, FAIA. Ms. Gang is perhaps best known for her design of Aqua Tower in downtown Chicago.
Who was your contractor?
W.E. O’Neil supervised construction of the new theatre center.
How much did the new building cost?
Writers Theatre’s On to a New Stage Campaign has raised $33 million towards its total goal of $34 million for the new theatre center project, including the establishment of a first-ever cash reserve fund for the company.
DETAILS OF THE NEW THEATRE CENTER
What is the square footage of the new building?
The new theatre center is 36,000 square feet.
How large are the new performance venues?
The Alexandra C. & John D. Nichols Theatre seats 250 patrons, with seating sections no larger than eight rows in depth. The Gillian Theatre is a flexible 50 to 99-seat space, paying tribute to our original performance space at Books on Vernon.
What else is included in the new theatre building?
- A spacious main atrium with seating tribunes that function as a central gathering area and supplementary artistic, family and educational programming area
- A luminous Grand Gallery Walk, suspended around the atrium and serving as viewing area and “front porch” to the building
- Updated patrons amenities: coat check, restrooms, and Concessions Center
- A “Theatre in a Park” atmosphere, with patron access to surrounding parks, outdoor rooftop terraces, landscaped and rooftop gardens
- An onsite rehearsal room, which will also serve as a space for special events and community programming
Do the new performance venues maintain the intimacy of the two former venues?
Intimacy, inclusion, and immersion are central to the Writers Theatre mission—and remain so in our new home. Studio Gang’s attention to the extraordinary connection between audience and artist guided this project's lead architect, Jeanne met with actors, directors and set and lighting designers to gather input during the earliest design phase. Every element that affects the audience experience—acoustics, sight lines, dimensions, comfort –reflects the intimacy our audiences expect.
Is this an environmentally conscious building?
Yes, Studio Gang and Writers Theatre has been awarded U.S. Green Building Council LEED Gold status for the new theatre center.
What makes this a “green” building?
Studio Gang Architects is known around the globe for their innovative approach to practical projects, and SGA’s designs embrace sustainability, artistic integrity, and human interaction. Many related strategies and systems have been woven into the building’s design, as follows: “green” landscaping and rooftops; the use of recycled, local and renewable building materials (including the re-use of the exterior bricks from the Woman’s Library Club in the interior of the new 250-seat theatre); water conservation; energy efficiency; and maximized use of public transportation, walking, and biking.
How is the building accessible to patrons with disabilities?
The new theatre center is in full compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), making the building accessible to all patrons. In addition to standard accessibility requirements (wheelchair seating areas in both theatre spaces, accessible elevator, ramps, restroom stalls, etc.), we has also installed a hearing loop induction system in both theatre spaces, which is among the first of its kind in Chicagoland theatres. Accessibility >
NOW THAT THE BUILDING IS OPEN
Is there enough parking for the new theatre center?
There are 348 free parking spaces within a two-minute walk of the theatre, and 607 spaces within three minutes. Plus, the Glencoe Metra train station that services downtown Chicago is within 300 feet of the new theatre center.
Does the Woman’s Library Club continue to operate in this new building?
Yes, the Woman’s Library Club is still in operation and continues to share space with Writers Theatre in the new theatre center.
Is the new theatre center available for outside rentals?
There will be possibilities for outside rentals at the new facility, as the schedules of Writers Theatre and the Woman’s Library Club allow. More information on those opportunities will be made available in the future on our rental information page.
Will there still be performances in the bookstore (at 664 Vernon Ave)?
Writers Theatre does not own the theatre venue at Books on Vernon, and currently there are no plans to continue performing there.
When is the new building open to the public?
The new building will be open to the public every day of the week from 10am-5pm and longer on performance days. The building contains public wi-fi and outlets and anyone is welcome to enjoy the public spaces.
Will Writers Theatre continue to use the office at 321 Park Ave?
We will continue to have our main administrative offices inside 321 Park Ave, however the Box Office, production offices and stage management offices will be located in the new building.
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