The PlayhouseSquare's 2,500-seat Allen Theatre will be reconfigured into two smaller theatres that will seat, respectively, 550 and 300 audience members. An additional 175-seat black box theatre will be constructed adjacent to the Allen for intimate productions on the Cleveland Play House bill.
The orchestra section of the Allen will be reconfigured into the 550-seat Main Stage, while the balcony section will be transformed into the 300-seat Second Stage. With the newly added theatres, Cleveland's PlayhouseSquare will become the largest performing arts venue outside New York City's Lincoln Center Performing Arts complex.
In addition to the new theatres, the construction will also create classrooms, rehearsal and dance spaces, as well as wardrobe and set construction shops. Construction for the project, estimated at over $30 million, will commence in the fall of 2010 with a completion goal in the fall of 2011.
"We have been looking at options to create a more cost-effective facility situation for a couple of years, including the possibility of renovating the current space or building new elsewhere," said Kevin Moore, managing director of The Play House, in a statement. "Based on that research, we can say with certainty that this is the most exciting partnership we could possibly have created – superb partners, a great design team, a vibrant theater district, and so much more. It also happens to be the most cost-effective, which is great for the partners and the community."
Founded in 1915, the Cleveland Play House has presented the world premieres of Randal Myler's It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues, Michele Lowe's The Smell of the Kill, Eric Coble's Bright Ideas and Seth Greenland's Jerusalem.