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Quick Facts & FAQs

QUICK FACTS

We are now the sole owner of the Huntington Avenue Theatre, thanks to a gift by QMG Huntington LLC to the Huntington Theatre Company in May of 2018. This fulfills a long-held aspiration to control our own theatre space.

The Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) voted in December 2017 to approve the proposed redevelopment of 254-264 Huntington Avenue, which will include the renovation of the Huntington Avenue Theatre and the theatre’s support wing as well as a new apartment building next to the 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, plans are in design to renovate our historic theatre and expend the complex 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 in much the same way that the Calderwood Pavilion did in the South End in 2004.

 

FAQS

What will this development project mean for the neighborhood and the community?
The Huntington Avenue development project will allow the Huntington to remain in its home of 37 years and continue to provide services to the Boston community for generations to come. The Huntington is grateful to the commercial developers QMG Huntington LLC for not only gifting this historic theatre but also providing a two-story 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. 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. The Huntington is poised to enliven this block of Huntington Avenue and serve the community in the same manner.

Who will the project serve?
The scale of our ambitions extends well beyond our audience of theatre lovers to all those who want to see Boston thrive creatively through the arts, business, education, and nonprofit sectors. The restored and expanded HAT will take the Huntington to the next level in serving our audiences, artists, students, and community with world-class productions and programming. Full control of our own space and year-round calendar will allow us to increase our offerings and attract more visitors to the Avenue of the Arts throughout the mainstage season and in the summer, contributing to the economic and cultural growth of the neighborhood, as with the Calderwood Pavilion in the South End.

What will the new development project include?
QMG Huntington LLC will build a 32-story apartment building at 252-258 Huntington Avenue next door to the theatre and designed by Stantec, which will house 426 apartments, as well as space for retail shops, a restaurant, and parking.

How will the new Huntington Avenue Theatre change?
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.

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

What will the Huntington’s new entrance and lobbies be like?
Located in the 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 a 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.

Will there be public access? Will there be community use? What role does the Huntington play in the community?
The new Huntington Avenue Theatre Complex (HAT) will be a creative hub for the Boston community, open daily and year-round for programming that is open and accessible to the public. As a civic leader committed to enriching the city’s artistic landscape, each year we provide subsidized space and services supporting dozens of performing arts companies, a commitment begun at the Calderwood Pavilion that will be enhanced at the new HAT. In addition, we partner with 245+ agencies to implement our audience engagement Community Membership Initiative, and work with more than 150 schools statewide in our in-depth educational programming. We will have the capacity to increase our engagement with patrons of all abilities in accessible performances. The fully-renovated HAT will allow us to increase our programming and service to the public from 150 to 260 annual performances, 260,000+ patrons, and 50,000 participants in Education and Community programs each year. Our new Huntington Avenue Theatre complex will be an inspiring and unifying venue for theatre, education, creative thought, and social connection.

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 the number of performances we create, the audience members and young people we serve, and the scope of our artistic ambitions. 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 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 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 west wing, located adjacent to the theatre, will be renovated to better accommodate our dressing rooms, green room, rehearsal hall, and costume, sound, and electrical shops.

What happened 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, completed in 2017. 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 happens next in the process? 
We are currently in the Design Development phase of construction planning, led by our Board Facilities Committee in partnership with Bruner/Cott architects, project managers Leggat McCall, and Shawmut Construction. We have raised over 60% of our overall comprehensive campaign goal.


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