Steppenwolf Theatre Company has unveiled renderings of its new 50,000-square-foot building, which will open in 2021. The new building is part of the organization's multi-year campus expansion on Halsted Street in Chicago’s Lincoln Park (where it is currently located), and will allow Steppenwolf's audience to grow from 180,000 to 225,000 annually.
Steppenwolf's new building will feature an intimate 400-seat in-the-round theatre that is six rows deep, ensuring no audience member will be more than 20 feet from the stage. There will also be a dedicated education floor, tripling the reach and impact of Steppenwolf’s education work (from 15,000 to 40,000); a bright and open two-story atrium lobby; a wine bar; and a sidewalk lounge.
Additionally, the new building will house Steppenwolf’s costume shop and other updated production amenities. Steppenwolf's current upstairs theatre, which was originally built as a rehearsal space, will return to its original purpose and house two rehearsal spaces after the completion of the new theatre.
“The new theatre is a bold, modern in-the-round space offering unparalleled levels of focus for the actors and audience. Chicago doesn’t have another space like it,” said Gavin Green, Senior Partner at Charcoalblue, the London-based theatre design team who are working on the project. The design team also includes Gordon Gill of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture and Chicago-based Norcon Construction, led by Jeff Jozwiak.
The new building will be located at 1646 N. Halsted between the existing parking garage (which will remain but undergo some changes) and Steppenwolf's main theatre building. As part of the expansion phase, the lobbies of the current downstairs theatre will also undergo major renovations to better serve audiences.
“This is a monumental moment for us that is more than two decades in the making—built on the shoulders of the former leaders, the ensemble, the board, and the staff who have touched this project and together have made this vision a reality," said artistic director Anna D. Shapiro.