NEW YORK, NY
The Cherry Lane Theatre, an outpost of avant-garde theater production since 1924, is now dedicated to promoting the development of new playwrights. Alterations have updated its aged facilities to support vibrant contemporary programming by enhancing the theater’s street presence, improving stage-audience relationships, increasing audience comforts, expanding back-of-house facilities, and upgrading environmental systems.
The entry has been reconceived and recomposed. The lobby is transparent and inviting; exterior brick walls and stone floors are continuous in to the lobby. The theater entrance has been brought to the street as in the original theater; it has big, thick doors to keep the inside quiet and private. The box office and theater doors are made of brightly colored lacquered wood. Newly made traditional materials are used with contextual proportions and modern detailing, lacing together existing and new elements.
Inside the theater, finely machined cherry wood slats and boards with occasional hand carved flowers are layered over the original brick and rubble walls. Old materials are revealed behind new, rough seen against smooth. Slats and boards are placed for improved acoustics and to support stage lighting and sound equipment at ideal locations. Thick, slatted cherry-wood doors connect theater with lobbies and exits.
The intimacy of the stage-audience relationship is enhanced by removing the proscenium and by improving sightlines to the stage. Comfort is improved with upholstered chairs and more generous spacing. A single aisle is used for efficiency; its diagonal orientation diminishes the appearance of an audience divided.
New audience amenities include a concession bar, more bathrooms and accessibility throughout. Usable space was increased by relocating parts of the mechanical plant from the first floor. The second floor has new dressing rooms, separate performer bathrooms, and administrative offices.
Theatrical lighting and sound systems are designed to contemporary standards and crew controls are placed in an ample control booth with view of the stage. New theater air conditioning is comfortably distributed and extremely quiet. Building-wide upgrades were made to systems for heating, hot water, ventilating, electrical power, fire alarm, and air conditioning. New rooftop equipment mechanical equipment is designed with special care to protect neighbors from exterior noise.
With this renovation, the legendary Cherry Lane Theatre maintains its neighborly Village presence and asserts a contemporary identity for a new generation of theater artists and audiences.