TheatreSquared recently announced the selection of architect Jonathan Marvel, founding principal of New York-based Marvel Architects, to design its new, 51,500-SF theater building in downtown Fayetteville.
The employment of an architect of Marvel’s stature was made possible through the Walton Family Foundation’s Northwest Arkansas Design Excellence Program, in which the foundation pays the fee for top architects to design buildings for nonprofits, schools and government entities.
Marvel was chosen from five finalists, and comes with sterling credentials. The firm recently converted a 19th century tobacco warehouse into a home for renowned theater company St. Ann’s Warhouse, in the posh Brooklyn neighborhood known as DUMBO.
Martin Miller, executive director of TheatreSquared, said with Marvel on board, the company can achieve its goal.
“The objective is to produce a world-class building to create world-class theater in Northwest Arkansas,” Miller said. “You’ll have more tricks up your sleeves, and more ways to create theater magic.”
In addition to perhaps two performance venues, the new theater building will house administrative and production facilities. Seating for the main auditorium will likely be limited to just under 300 seats so that TheatreSquared can maintain its signature intimacy.
“We’re not trying to change the T2 experience,” Miller said. “We’re not trying to become someone we’re not, but to better capture who we are.”
In an August letter to Fayetteville city officials, Miller said the project could be as large as $40 million, and that its annual financial impact could top $4 million. He hopes the new theater will be open for the 2019 season.
It’s set to be built on a 0.8-acre piece of land at the southeast corner of West Avenue and Spring Street, just south of the Walton Arts Center. The location will maintain the theater’s historic ties to the University of Arkansas.
For years TheatreSquared has been housed at Nadine Baum Studios, a space the company has outgrown.
“It’s time to take the next step,” Miller said.