TheatreSquared will break ground on $34 million facility June 23

by Jennifer Joyner (JJoyner@nwabj.com) 1,483 views 

Construction on TheatreSquared’s new venue will start June 23, and the professional theater company will formally launch a $34 million campaign to fund the project the same day, TheatreSquared announced Wednesday (June 7).

The groundbreaking ceremony starts at 4 p.m., and the organization at that time also will announce how much it has raised toward the effort during the private fundraising phase, according to a representative for TheatreSquared.

The new, 50,000 square-foot facility will be located at 477 W. Spring St., across the street from its current location at the Walton Arts Center’s Nadine Baum Studios, and will be designed by Marvel Architects of New York City and the theater planning firm Charcoalblue of London. Construction is planned to be finished by 2019, according to a press release.

“With this new cultural landmark, we are proud to strengthen our region’s reputation as a national destination for the arts and for singular live performances,” Artistic Director Robert Ford said, according to the release. “On June 23, we’ll break ground and invite our community to join us in a campaign to ensure the next 100 years of remarkable live theatre in Northwest Arkansas.”

The ceremony will be recorded by a documentary film crew from the American Theatre Wing, founder of the Tony Awards, according to the release.

“It’s a thrilling moment for Northwest Arkansas,” TheatreSquared Executive Director Martin Miller said in the release. “In this architecturally significant, yet intimately scaled new theatre center, millions of Arkansans will experience remarkable performances by exceptional artists. Beginning June 23, we’ll work to bring the community together in a public campaign to achieve our $34 million goal and guarantee the future of this vision.”

The Walton Family Foundation announced earlier this year a $9 million matching grant toward the building project. The foundation also funded the design process with $3.5 million through its Northwest Arkansas Design Excellence grant program for public spaces.

The new facility will feature the company’s first dedicated rehearsal space, staff offices, education and community space, in addition to on-site design and building workshops, eight dedicated guest artist apartments, outdoor public spaces at three levels, and an open-all-day café/bar, according to TheatreSquared.

“I’m proud to say that this is one of the most intimate, yet immersive theatre spaces Charcoalblue has yet designed,” senior project manager Clem Abercrombie said in the release. The theater designer’s international portfolio includes the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Stirling Award-winning Everyman Theatre, the Donmar Warehouse, and U.S. companies Chicago Shakespeare Theater and Baltimore Center Stage. The firm also is leading theater design for The Perelman @WTC, the new performing arts building at the World Trade Center site, according to the release.

Marvel Architects’ previous collaboration with Charcoalblue for the New York theater company St. Ann’s Warehouse recently won the 2017 AIA Institute Honor Award, according to the release. Architect Jonathan Marvel began his career under Richard Meier, working on the Getty Museum and the High Museum.

Arkansas-based construction firm Baldwin & Shell will construct the facility. The company’s many projects include the new Spring Street Parking Deck and the renovated the Vol Walker Hall and Steven L. Anderson Design Center at the University of Arkansas, according to the release.

In 2015 TheatreSquared won an Our Town grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, which supports creative place-making efforts.

The city of Fayetteville owns the property where the project will be built. The Fayetteville City Council in 2016 voted to approve a 100-year lease to TheatreSquared.

In 2017, Mayor Lioneld Jordan and the Fayetteville City Council announced a $3.1 million commitment toward the project, and the Fayetteville A&P Commission committed $3 million.

In the press release, TheatreSquared recognized a number of donors that have given so far to the campaign, dubbed “Our Next Stage.” Donors include Ted & Leslie Belden, Kirk Thompson & Brett Burch, Joel & Lynn Carver, Carolyn & Nick Cole, Denise & Hershey Garner, Susan & Orville Hall, Greg & Hannah Lee, Scott & Shizuko Price, Margaret & Dick Rutherford, Judy & Bill Schwab, Todd & Shelley Simmons, Tod Yeslow & Jackie Telfair and Jenifer Tucker.

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