INTRODUCING THE CLAIRE TOW STAGE
IN THE C. NEWTON SCHENCK III THEATRE
Visit soon to experience for yourself the new roomier seating in the theatre, a bigger lobby, a new bar, and a facelift that embraces the unique industrial nature of the site, while updating it for the 21st century.
Through the end of the 2011-12 season, Long Wharf Theatre staff and board members were in the lobby during performances, talking about the renovations. What they heard from audiences was heartening. Time and again patrons stopped to talk about fond associations with the theatre, actors they loved, or fine performances they remember. Because of those positive memories, hundreds of people enthusiastically supported the campaign.
It was a reminder that Long Wharf Theatre was important to people, a thought that was encouraging to staff members as they worked through the challenging process of fundraising. “Each night people would stop and tell me stories about Long Wharf Theatre over the years. These were people who’ve had a long relationship with us. It is humbling to hear that we’ve made an impact, and we are inordinately grateful for their devotion and loyalty,” said managing director Josh Borenstein.
The renovations started June 8 and were completed days before the first performance of The Killing of Sister George on November 28. In the end, approximately 5,500 man hours were spent on the project.
The design, by New Haven architect Rick Wies of Gregg, Wies, and Gardner, decided to emphasize the Food Terminal’s industrial origins, rather than masking them.
The size of the lobby has been increased by almost a third, with large bright windows. The new façade of the theatre consists of an anodized aluminum store front glazing system paired with a white porcelain cement ground-face block. Eighty clear varnished wood panels make up the interior lobby walls. The floors are polished concrete. The new bar is made of backlit resin paneling. The steel signs honoring Claire Tow and founding Board Chair C. Newton Schenck III were designed by Long Wharf Theatre graphics director Claire Zoghb, and erected by Long Wharf Theatre’s production staff.
The total impact is a radical one – a design that honors Long Wharf Theatre’s unique origins, while acknowledging patrons’ needs. The renovation itself is a reflection of the ethos of excellence the theatre has stood for over its long history.