TheatreSquared Opens New Permanent Home
More than 550 Northwest Arkansas civic leaders and arts supporters gathered for a ribbon cutting celebration at TheatreSquared's state-of-the-art, $31 million new home.
"This is a signal moment-the opening of a true community space-and one we owe to a great deal of generosity and hard work by a great many people," said T2 Executive Director Martin Miller in remarks at the ribbon cutting event.
The new TheatreSquared is an architecturally significant new cultural landmark at the corner of Spring Street and West Avenue in downtown Fayetteville. The state-of-the-art complex opens its doors as one of the newest, most intimate, and immersive performance spaces in the country - "a theatre that lures the public inside" (Architect Magazine). London-based theatre planners Charcoalblue and Puerto Rico/New York-based Marvel Architects collaborated to design the building and performance spaces.
The new TheatreSquared houses two state-of-the-art theatres, the Walker Rehearsal Room, offices, education and community space, design workshops, eight dedicated guest artist apartments, and the open-all-day Commons Bar/Café. Outdoor areas on each level - a patio on Spring Street, a second-level terrace on West, and a rooftop deck - reinforce the organization's ethos of transparency to the community.
Plans for a new home began to take form in early 2015, when the TheatreSquared Board charged a special community task force to recommend a long-term facilities plan for the company. The task force made a strong recommendation, which was then unanimously approved by the T2 Board: to launch an exploratory process toward building a new home. Their vision stated:
"We see a gathering place-a theatre commons-that is welcoming and fascinating, alive with activity. A building that draws the eye and evokes curiosity. A place that invites, hints at the unusual, and suggests, something significant will happen here."
In 2016, TheatreSquared received an "Our Town" grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and was selected as an inaugural participant in the Walton Family Foundation's Northwest Arkansas Design Excellence Program. In spring 2017, the Fayetteville City Council voted unanimously to approve a 100-year lease on a publicly owned site in downtown Fayetteville - just across the street from the theatre's founding venue, a converted warehouse.
In June, 2017, the company broke ground and launched the $31 Our Next Stage Campaign, with leadership commitments from the Walton Family Foundation, the City of Fayetteville, the Fayetteville A&P Commission, the State of Arkansas, the Willard & Pat Walker Charitable Foundation, and Joel and Lynn Carver. Fundraising is in its final phase with 90% of project funds committed.
Design and construction images, the backstory, and campaign information are at ournextstage.org. Information on the company's grand opening season, including the building-opening productions of Shakespeare in Love in the West Theatre and 10,000 Balconies in the Spring Theatre-set in Damascus, Syria, and supported by a three-year grant from the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art-is available at theatre2.org