New Jersey Shakespeare Festival
F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre 1998
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Client:New Jersey Shakespeare Festival
Project Category:Resident Professional Theatres
Architect:Ford Farewell Mills Gatsch
Completion Year:1998
Location:Madison, New Jersey
Acoustician:Jaffe Holden Acoustics
Building Size:22,000 s.f.
Capacity:308 seats
The New Jersey Shakespeare Festival presents its classic plays in a former gymnasium at Drew University. The new theatre carved out of this space features a 308-seat  seating capacity, a rehearsal room, a dramatic public lobby overlooking the college "Bowl," a meeting/conference space, and support space for productions.

To make the space work for a theatre, the existing building was completely stripped to its shell, and an L-shaped addition was located on two sides to accommodate the new program.  The interior of the house, restructured for excellent sight lines, a larger stage, and barrier-free access, also accommodates a new catwalk system, sound and light control booth, and a trapped stage with lift.

The strategy for the new design was to expand the central gable of the original building and to convert this with a new cross wing. The highly glazed, round roofed wing contrasts with the masonry of the original building. Lobby, ticket booths, office, and meeting spaces are located in this new wing.