This Summer and Next

Changes to Our Home

By John Bourdeaux, Director of Development

Removal of old seating began the day after Vanya closed.
Removal of old seating began the day after Vanya closed.

Our Church Street home continues to serve us well after more than 35 years of incredible theatre. In recent years, we have made changes to give our artists more flexibility, take advantage of new technologies, and ensure that our patrons’ experiences remain second-to-none.

We would not find great purpose in our productions without the involvement of an engaged audience. This summer, the interior of the theatre is undergoing a major renovation – 484 new seats and carpet, both in a rich maroon color, and walnut veneer finishes, will truly transform the space into a vibrant and comfortable performance venue. We hope that these changes will make your experience at Hartford Stage that much more special and match the caliber of the work that you see onstage.

After we closed Vanya and Sonya and Masha and Spike, the entire interior of the theatre was stripped down to the concrete walls and floors. It was an amazing sight to behold.

Among the many changes that are being made to our house are the increased opportunities for accessible seating. When you return to the theatre this fall, you will note that there is increased accessible seating that can be reached from the upper lobby. While this seating will not be in heavy use during the 2014/2015 season, we anticipate that it will be well utilized once we install a passenger elevator in an upcoming summer. 

All seats removed and upper lobby gutted.

In addition to a passenger elevator, upcoming plans also include new ventilation equipment, a new marquee, and new finishes to the lower lobby in the summer of 2015 and beyond. The passenger elevator lobby and the lower lobby will have more glass so that people from the outside can catch a glimpse of some of the exciting activity inside the building. We are also developing plans for complete renovations of the second and third floors of our theatre building. The second floor is for our actors – their dressing rooms and green room – when they are onsite for performances. Many actors remark on the great experience that they have performing in Hartford, and we aim to make it even better. The third floor is the home to our costume shop, whose craftsmanship you see during every performance and on display in our lobbies. Their skill is extraordinary, and we want to ensure that they have the best tools and best space to create their work. 

Carpet being laid in the aisles.
Carpet being laid in the aisles.

During our 50th Anniversary Season, more than 70 donors made special gifts totaling nearly $300,000 to support this phase of our renovations, with each donor recognized on a plaque on our new theatre seats. We are very grateful to these donors for this support!

In addition to individual funders, Hartford Stage recently received a grant of $2.5M from the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development for these renovations which are estimated to cost a total of $6 million over the next two years. We are grateful for the support of the State of Connecticut.

Stop by when you’re at the theatre! This season, you will be able to see some of the plans envisioned for our theatre on display in the lower lobby. Members of the Hartford Stage staff will be on hand to answer questions about the upcoming changes and enhancements.