$10 Million Grant Launches Renovation of DCPA's 37-Year-Old Space Theatre
The Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) gratefully acknowledges a $10 million grant from the Better Denver Bond Program. The money is designated for the renovation of the 37-year-old Space Theatre. Turner Construction began work in March 2016 with an anticipated completion date of September 2017.
Once completed, the theatre will feature a flexible performance space allowing for innovative design and adaptable staging, full ADA compliance and improvements that are intended to enhance the audience's enjoyment of each production -- state-of-the-art acoustics, lighting and sound; improved sightlines, and more main level seating.
"As the nation's largest non-profit theatre organization, it is imperative that not only our productions but also our facilities are second to none," said DCPA President & CEO Scott Shiller. "We are grateful to the vision of Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and City Council members whose grant will enable us to elevate our guests' experience and engage with them in newly-expanded ways."
The 550-seat Space Theatre originally opened in 1979 within the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex building at Speer & Arapahoe. It is currently home to the DCPA's Tony Award-winning Theatre Company and select productions by PHAMALY. While the theatre has enjoyed some cosmetic updates over the years, the current project is an extensive overhaul of both the audience amenities as well as the backstage support.
Semple Brown Design has been selected to lead the renovation, which will make the performance space more engaging to audiences and allow for new, innovative performances. Patrons will immediately notice several significant changes and improvements:
- Functionality: In order to create a more nimble space that allows for both intimate and innovative productions, entire sections and rows will be removable. This significant change will allow for a complete reconfiguration of the performance space, providing for a wider breadth of programmatic choices.
- Seating: Currently, The Space Theatre is a 550-seat, theatre in-the-round with four levels of seating. Once completed, it will feature two levels of seating, greatly improving sight lines for audience members. Additionally, while the number of seats will be increased on the main floor, the overall seating capacity will be reduced to 416 seats, preserving the intimacy of the space for enhanced audience engagement.
- Accessibility: The renovated theatre will be ADA compliant, featuring increased wheelchair accessible seating on both levels and improving restroom access.
- Entry: The original design of the Bonfils Complex features one main lobby with multiple entrances into both the Space and Stage theatres. Once renovated, The Space Theatre will have its own enlarged lobby with one central doorway into the theatre, eliminating stairs to a lower level entrance and making the entry fully accessible.
- Restrooms: The restroom capacity will nearly double, adding a family-style facility and becoming ADA compliant.
The non-visible improvements will not only bring the theatre up-to-date, they will modernize the backstage and technical support of the space making it state-of-the-art and enhancing the safety for both guests and staff.
- Acoustics & Sound: Modern acoustic treatments in the performance area will result in a room specifically tuned for the spoken word, which will be enhanced by entirely new, state-of-the-art sound equipment.
- Technical Enhancements: Two new control booths will enable the technical staff to see the performance in action rather than depending on a video relay. Additionally, one of the control booths will be fully ADA accessible.
- Lighting: The Space Theatre will feature all-new lighting systems, providing for modern lighting capabilities to further enhance each production and significantly reduced energy consumption.
- Comfort: An upgraded HVAC system will enable greater control of the temperature both in the house and on stage to ensure the comfort of guests and artists alike.
- Emergency Systems: Improved fire alarm system, improved exit routes and the use of noncombustible materials will be key features.
- Backstage: Currently, there are four theatres in the Bonfils Complex that all share a central dressing room area. Following the renovation, new dressing rooms will be created specifically for The Space Theatre, which will be ADA accessible.
The renovation is scheduled to be completed by September 2017 in time to open the DCPA Theatre Company's 2017/18 season. For regular updates, visit denvercenter.org/news-center.
The Denver Center for the Performing Arts is the largest non-profit theatre organization in the nation,presenting Broadway tours and producing its own original theatre, cabaret, musicals, and innovative, multimedia plays. Last season the DCPA entertained more than 930,000 visitors through 41 productions, 767 performances and 333 events. Learn more: denvercenter.org.