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The Delacorte Theatre Will Undergo $110 Million Restoration


The Delacorte Theatre Will Undergo $110 Million Restoration

According to The New York Times, The Public Theater will begin restoration on the Delacorte Theatre in 2020.

The Central Park amphitheatre hasn't had a major overhaul since it was built in 1962, but that is about to change. On Wednesday, the Public announced a $110 million upgrade, designed by the architect Bjarke Ingels.

"It will be the largest project The Public Theater has ever undertaken," said Oskar Eustis, artistic director of The Public.

Eustis said, however, that he is committed to keeping the experience of Shakespeare in the Park in tact.

Among current issues with the theatre are outdated infrastructure, small work spaces, inaccessible steps, and distant bathrooms.

"This is not a welcoming space," said Eustis.

The theatre currently spends $100,000 per year on the dewinterizing process, but with the new restorations, the space will become more weatherproof.

Eustis is also hoping that it will allow the theatre to remain open beyond just the summer season.

The renovation will include improved spaces for production, scenery and wardrobe, as well.

The Public has raised $10 million, and will offer naming opportunities to raise more of the funds. However, Eustis is dedicated to keeping the name "Delacorte."

"It's like Fenway Park," he said. "It's like Wrigley Field."

The space will go dark in 2020 to accommodate the restorations, but The Public will offer free programming at an alternate location.

Read more on The New York Times.

The Public's statement is as follows:

As part of our 10-year strategic plan, the Board of Trustees and Executive Leadership announced our intent to revitalize the 56-year-old Delacorte Theater in Central Park to ensure that Free Shakespeare in the Park is vibrantly sustained for generations to come.

Our goal is twofold: First, to expand access to our beloved summer programs - not by adding more seats or expanding the theater's footprint in the park, but by streamlining operations and improving efficiencies to shorten the amount of time between productions. This way, we can add more performances into each season, and provide more free theater for all.

Second, we'll be able to address critical infrastructure and accessibility challenges and provide a better, more comfortable experience for audiences, artists, and staff for years to come.

Our priority has always been and will always be to protect and honor our home, Central Park. It is one of the most beautiful and democratic spaces in our city - the backdrop to every performance and an inspiration in our work. Over the next several months we will be working closely alongside city officials, NYC Parks, Central Park Conservancy, the Landmarks Commission, the DCLA, our community partners, and other key stakeholders as our planning takes shape.

They also mention that "The Delacorte has only had minor upgrades over the past 56 years. Today, the theater is not fully able to meet the needs of the top-tier productions that call it home. The theater's popularity has surged over its lifespan, and it has outgrown its exisitng infrastructure in almost every measureable way: from providing sufficient resources and space for staff and artists to ensuring equitable access and comfort for audiences."

Photo Credit: Jennifer Broski

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