Ford’s Theatre


Reopened in February, 2009 after an 18-month renovation, Washington D.C.’s historic Ford’s Theatre now has comfortable new seats and brighter interior lighting systems.

The goal of the restoration by the National Parks Service, with architect Robert Pruitt of ADS in Falls Church, VA, and with FDA’s participation, was to preserve the intimate feel of the Civil War-era theater along with physical features such as the wallpapered box where Lincoln was seated. ADA accessibility was another key objective, and a new heating and air conditioning system was installed for audience comfort.

Paul Tetrault, Director, commented, “Forty years had passed since the last major restoration. The theater was looking haggard. We needed to upgrade the building systems and interior so we could attract first-class talent and present the best American work.”

FDA was instrumental in replacing the original wooden gridiron and rope rigging with a steel grid and motorized, computer-controlled rigging. As part of our design for a new stage lighting system, the top balcony now supports expanded and enhanced stage lighting positions and a new control and followspot booth. And finally, uncomfortable wooden chairs have been replaced with fully upholstered seats. These new seats are self-rising for easier access to the rows.

  • Client: National Park Service
  • Project Category: Renovation and Restoration
  • Completion Year: 2009
  • Location: Washington, Dist of Columbia
  • Acoustician: Jaffe Holden Acoustics
  • Capacity: 650 seats

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