After 70 years of use, the UW School of Drama’s Playhouse Theatre needed complete renovation. Fortunately, in 2005 Washington State allocated funds for the Playhouse in its “Restore the Core” program of major building renovations on the UW campus. Construction began in August 2007.
Photo by John Stamets, 2008
Due to project timing and escalating construction costs, Playhouse renovation estimates jumped $1.3M beyond the $10.4M in funding received from the State of Washington ($7.6M), Floyd and Delores Jones ($2M), and the UW College of Arts and Sciences ($800,000). Thanks to value engineering and cost containment, Playhouse renovation estimates were reduced to $11.3M. To date, $10.8M in funding commitments has been secured. School of Drama Director Sarah Nash Gates and the School of Drama Advisory Board are now leading the effort to raise the remaining $500,000 needed to fully equip the restored Playhouse Theatre.
Need for Renovation
Constructed in 1931, the condition of the 10,137 square foot Playhouse Theatre was substandard for modern instruction and performance, seismically unstable, and not compliant with existing codes. Failing heating, ventilation, and electrical systems all negatively impact the quality of theatrical performances. The UW endorsed a complete renovation of the Playhouse as the best path to provide a premier educational venue for the students at the School of Drama and the Seattle community at large.
The restored Playhouse Theatre will add significantly to the University’s ability to fulfill its mission to provide exceptional experiences in education, research and community outreach. The UW School of Drama and Seattle theatre community will also benefit from a renovated theatre which provides Drama students with improved educational and training opportunities. The renovated Playhouse will be used as a teaching lab as well as for public performances, events and lectures. Improved acoustics and state-of-the-art technology will transform the Playhouse into a sought-after venue for lectures, public forums, and chamber music concerts.
The renovation design by LMN Architects includes seismic upgrades, ADA compliance, and complete systems replacement (HVAC, electrical, fire systems, plumbing and rest rooms). The auditorium and lobby roof will be raised, improving sightlines and creating a safer work environment for technical personnel and meeting current industry standards for lighting, acoustics and stage access. An elevator will be added to provide full access to the second story program space and the rear auditorium entrance. The interiors will be organized in a more efficient manner and updated with durable modern finishes that respect the theatre’s period details.
The University Of Washington School Of Drama impacts the entire Seattle theatre community. With a constant infusion of new talent, energy, and ideas, it is no coincidence that Seattle is home to a vibrant theatre community and to one of the top five drama programs in the country.
For more information about supporting the Campaign for the Floyd and Delores Jones Playhouse, please see the links at the top of the page or contact:
Director of Development
School of Drama