THE ICONIC REGIONAL PERFORMANCE SPACE ANNOUNCES PLANS TO UPGRADE AND EXPAND ITS FACILITIES WHILE PRESERVING ITS HISTORIC CHARACTER AND FOSTERING A STRONGER COMMUNITY CONNECTION
The Plaza Theatre, a renowned regional performance space and cultural hub, is excited to announce an ambitious architectural project aimed at revitalizing and expanding the theatre. The goal of this project is to enhance the facility’s functionality and accommodate more patrons while preserving its historic character. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, the Plaza Theatre is dedicated to fostering a stronger community by providing easy, affordable access to cultural and artistic events.
“This has been something that has been on our wish list for many years,” said Henri-Ann Nortman, Plaza Theatre Board President. “Over the last few years, we have been looking into it again. We are better situated now to do a project like this.”
The main objectives of the revitalization project include refreshing the first level, redesigning the lobby area, adding a balcony and additional restrooms, and creating a black box theatre on the third floor. “It’ll be multi-use; for rehearsals, small productions, meetings, and parties,” explained Nortman.
This project will significantly impact the local community, offering additional benefits to residents. With increased seating capacity and more functional spaces, the theatre will be able to host a broader range of events and offer rental opportunities to other organizations. “We hope it could be a more active space with additions to the community,” said Nortman.
To strike the right balance between preserving the historic character of the building and modernizing the facilities, The Plaza Theatre has enlisted the expertise of acclaimed architect Steven Lucchesi from the renowned Ziegler Cooper firm based in Houston, Texas, to lead the revitalization and expansion project. The preliminary drawings propose to restore the theatre to its 1940s glory, using finishes and decorations appropriate for that period but with a modern twist.
The board acknowledges certain challenges in the design and construction process, including making the entire building handicap accessible. “This will require an elevator to reach the 2nd and 3rd floor,” Nortman explained. “We have discovered that this has been uniquely challenging, but they feel they can work that into the design of the building. We want it to be workable and allow all patrons access to all of the facilities.”
Among the unique features proposed by the architect is an innovative solution for the lobby area. “In the preliminary drawings, they proposed something surprising, and we were thrilled! To open up the lobby to be a two-story lobby. To have the ceiling taken out with an atrium all the way up to the second floor,” shared Nortman. “It’s a beautiful solution. The lobby will seem much more open and will be more consistent with what theaters would have looked like in the 1940s.”
As the Plaza Theatre embarks on this historic revitalization and expansion project, it remains committed to fostering a sense of community, celebrating the region’s rich history, and offering easy, affordable access to cultural and artistic events.
This monumental project will rely upon a multi-phase fundraising and construction process. The Plaza Theatre recommends all those interested in project and event information visit whartonplazatheatre.org to subscribe to email updates.