After a year spent worrying that it was losing its primary performing space, Boston's Huntington Theatre Company (HTC) announced June 9 that it has struck a deal to stay in its traditional home at the Boston University Theatre on Huntington Avenue, according to the Boston Globe.
In announcing the deal, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh was quoted saying, “Bottom line is the Huntington is here to stay on Huntington Avenue where it belongs. The Huntington is going to gain exclusive control over the theater where it’s been for three decades.”
In May the 890-seat theatre at 264 Huntington Avenue and two adjoining buildings were sold by the university for $25 million to an investment group working with Boston-area developer John Matteson. Per the agreement, the HTC will be responsible for refurbishing and expanding the theatre. Michael Maso, managing director of the Huntington Theatre, told the Globe that the HTC will need to raise more than $60 million for the project.
As previously reported, the HTC ended its partnership with its main supporter, Boston University, in October of last year. The announcement included the news that BU had plans to sell the theatre building. The HTC was founded by BU in 1982 but went nominally independent in 1986. The university had continued to allow HTC free use of the space.
Gary Nicksa, BU senior vice president for operations, had previously told the BU website that the money from the sale will help pay for the construction of a new performance space, including a 250-seat studio theatre, on the university's Charles River Campus in the 820-846 area of Commonwealth Avenue, part of an improvement of College of Fine Arts facilities.
In response to the October announcement, ArtsBoston, StageSource, The Fenway Alliance and MASSCreative came together to launch the online #HuntingtonOnHuntington campaign, offering patrons of the arts the chance to sign a petition, share their memories of the theatre and spread the word via social media.
The Huntington Theatre Company won a special Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre in 2013. Among its many productions that have transferred to New York are Lydia R. Diamond’s Stick Fly on Broadway, and Stephen Karam’s Off-Broadway Sons of the Prophet, which was named a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize. Its 2015 production of A Confederacy of Dunces was the highest-grossing show in HTC's 33-year history, with potential plans for a Broadway transfer.