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News About the Huntington Avenue Theatre

The Huntington Theatre Company has long been an anchor cultural institution of Huntington Avenue, the Avenue of the Arts. Now that our permanent location on Huntington Avenue is secure, we have begun plans to convert our current theatre into a first-rate, modern venue that enlivens this stretch of Huntington Avenue on a year-round basis, contributing to the revitalization of the neighborhood much the way the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA in the South End did in 2004.

We plan to renovate our beautiful theatre, expand our public space and our services to patrons, and continue to produce ambitious, large-scale works at this location in a way that enhances our services to audience members, young people, our neighborhood, and the theatre community of Boston.

WHERE WE ARE NOW

  • The Huntington Theatre Company took full control of the theatre at 264 Huntington Avenue, our home of over 35 years, on July 1, 2017. Formerly known as the Boston University Theatre, the building will now be known as the Huntington Avenue Theatre until a more formal name is finalized.
  • The Huntington plans on renovating our historic theatre, retaining its beauty while also creating vibrant new social spaces and expanded lobbies with flexible space for a wide range of events, and providing additional services and first class amenities to our artists, audiences, and the community. The Huntington has engaged Bruner/Cott & Associates as architects to renovate the theatre and design the new theatre entrance and expansive public spaces. 
  • A local development company, QMG Huntington LLC, led by John Matteson, has agreed to give the Huntington long-term control of the Huntington Avenue Theatre and will construct a new commercial development at 252-258 Huntington Avenue. This development will include a mix of studio and one- and two-bedroom units, while meeting affordable-housing requirements, space for retail and a restaurant, and parking, as well as 14,000 square feet for the new expanded entrance and lobby space for the Huntington Avenue Theatre.
  • Many more details will emerge in the months to come as we move through the design and review process of this development, and to succeed the Huntington will have to embark on a major new capital fundraising campaign.

OUR 2017-2018 SEASON

  • Standard Schedule: The Huntington's 2017-2018 season will once again include 4 shows at the Huntington Avenue Theatre and 3 shows at the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA in the South End — with all the variety and artistry you've come to expect!

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What will this development project mean for the neighborhood and the community?
The Huntington Avenue development project is critical to the Huntington Theatre Company and will allow the Huntington to remain in its home of 35 years and continue to provide services to the Boston community for generations to come, and to expand those services. The Huntington is grateful to the commercial developers QMG Huntington LLC for their generous donation of the theatre space, and for providing 14,000 square feet of lobby space in the new development, and to Mayor Walsh and his team for helping make this deal happen.

The Huntington serves over 200,000 people in the city of Boston each season on Huntington Avenue and at the Calderwood Pavilion, and will expand its programming and its services to the Boston community in a newly renovated theatre with larger spaces open to the public. Supporting this project helps the Huntington thrive, and in turn the Huntington helps the community.

The Huntington Theatre Company helped to reinvigorate the South End and created a home that serves many smaller and mid-sized performing arts groups when it built the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA, and is poised to enliven this block of Huntington Avenue and serve the community in the same manner.

What will the new development project entail?
QMG Huntington LLC is proposing to build a gleaming 32-story apartment building at 252-258 Huntington Avenue next door to the theatre and designed by Stantec, which will house as many as 400 apartments, as well as space for retail shops, a restaurant, and parking. The new residence building reflects the fact that QMG Huntington LLC is donating the theatre and 50% of the land they purchased to the Huntington and providing 14,000 square feet in their new building for the Huntington’s new expansive lobbies. We believe this is an exciting project and will be an enormous improvement to the block.

What will the theatre renovation entail?
The Huntington has engaged Bruner/Cott & Associates as architects for the Huntington Avenue Theatre renovation. Known for award-winning designs for seminal projects such as MASS MoCA and the Boston University School of Law, Bruner/Cott has a reputation for thoughtful design that celebrates the heritage and craftmanship of the past while optimizing resources for sustainable futures.

The Huntington Avenue Theatre project will restore the historical façade of the exterior, create new expanded lobbies open to the public, and redesign the theatre’s infrastructure to modernize the theatrical and mechanical systems. The restored theatre will be fully accessible and ADA compliant and will contain improved amenities for artists, audiences, and the community. Audience members especially will appreciate new comfortable seats, brighter interior lighting, and yes, plenty of brand new restrooms!

What will the Huntington’s new entrance and lobbies be like?
Located in the new residence building, the Huntington’s new expansive lobby will encompass two floors and offer enhanced patron amenities, including a first floor cafe, a second floor bar, and flexible event space that could be used for lectures, community gatherings, and performances. The Huntington lobby spaces will be open to the community throughout the day, serving as a “living room” to the city of Boston.

How will the development project affect the theatre’s accessibility? Will the completed project be fully accessible?
The Huntington Avenue Theatre complex will be fully accessible after the project’s completion. The new lobby space will be code-compliant with ADA access and will include an elevator that reaches all floors in the building. The building will have minimal elevation changes and all stairways, restrooms, and door clearances will be compliant. Seating configurations in the theatre and traffic circulation in the lobby, orchestra, and mezzanine will all be updated per code requirements and be fully accessible to all patrons.

How will the Huntington Avenue Theatre project impact programming?
The development and renovation of the theatre will allow the Huntington to expand its programming throughout the year. Previously the Huntington worked within the confines of Boston University’s academic calendar and will now have more scheduling flexibility, including the possibility of summer programming. The Huntington will also provide space to outside arts organizations throughout the year, as it does with the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA, which the Huntington has operated since its construction in 2004. We will continue to produce in the Huntington Avenue Theatre during the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 seasons, and will announce plans for producing in other locations during the time the building is under renovation.

What will happen to the building next door to the theatre that houses the dressing rooms, costume shop, and the Studio 210 theatre space?
The building next door to the theatre (sometimes referred to as our “west wing” or the service building to the theatre) will continue to house our dressing rooms, green room, and costume, sound, and electrical shops, as well as Studio 210, which will be used both as the Huntington’s rehearsal hall and as a performance space for outside arts organizations.

As part of the larger construction project, we plan to renovate or replace this building, so that it can accommodate not only our dressing rooms, green room, an expanded rehearsal hall, and costume, sound, and electrical shops, but also our administrative offices and a loading dock area for sets and props built off-site.

What will happen to the scene, paint, and prop shops in the Huntington’s production department that were located at 252-258 Huntington Avenue, next door to the theatre?
Our scene, paint, and prop shops have relocated from Huntington Avenue to the new Huntington Production Center in Everett. The new facility features open and flexible work areas and onsite storage, allowing the Huntington staff to produce more complex design work in a more efficient workspace and to build upon the Huntington’s community mission by expanding production services to other arts organizations and companies.

What can audiences expect for the 2017-2018 season at the Huntington Avenue Theatre?
The Huntington will produce 4 shows at the Huntington Avenue Theatre in the 2017-2018 season, as usual, as well as 4 shows at the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA in the South End. Audiences will notice the first signs of change at the theatre when the Huntington’s 2017-2018 season begins in September, including a new accessible ramp in front of the theatre and new signage, while preparation for the larger renovation project continues.

What happens next in the process? When will construction begin?
Plans have been filed with the Boston Planning and Development Agency and are currently under review. Construction will most likely begin on the commercial development sometime in late 2018 to early 2019, with plans for completion in 2020. The Huntington will remain in the current theatre through the 2018-2019 season, and construction on the theatre would start roughly a year after the commercial developers begin construction on their building. There are still many details and plans to put in place, but we will share additional information as it develops.

Will the Huntington’s education programs change?
The Huntington will continue to serve over 33,000 students and community members throughout Greater Boston each year through our student matinee series, the August Wilson Monologue Competition, Poetry Out Loud, partnerships with Boston Public Schools, Codman Academy Public Charter School collaboration, Access Programming, and other community programs. We look forward to opportunities to expand our services as we look to the future. 

What can patrons do to help?
The Huntington is extremely grateful for the vocal support and encouragement from our board, our patrons, and the Greater Boston community. You may show your support by continuing to attend Huntington productions and events or make a contribution at huntingtontheatre.org/donate. Thank you for your support! 

What will my money support if I make a donation?
As always, your gift supports general operations or whichever onstage, education, or community programs you choose to designate. Huntington programs are all continuing as normal and still need your support. The Huntington is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization with a Charity Navigator Four-Star rating. Your contributions are tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by law.

The Huntington is extremely grateful for the vocal support and encouragement from our loyal audience members and supporters throughout Greater Boston. Please show your support by continuing to attend Huntington productions and events or make a contribution at huntingtontheatre.org/donate. Thank you!


Avenue of the Arts / Huntington Avenue Theatre: 264 Huntington Avenue, Boston MA 02115
South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA: 527 Tremont Street, Boston MA 02116
Main: 264 Huntington Avenue, Boston MA 02115 | 617 266 7900 | BOX OFFICE 617 266 0800

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