Friday, June 8, 2012

Renovations Begin at Long Wharf's Main Stage

Long wharf Theatre staff and Petra Construction employees
Long Wharf Theatre's Mainstage is ready for demolition and renovation.

A $3.8 million renovation project to the newly christened Claire Tow Stage in the C. Newton Schenck III Mainstage begins today and is slated for completion in mid-October. Since the close of My Name is Asher Lev, Long Wharf Theatre staffers have been working to prepare the space for the demolition work slated to begin June 8, taking down equipment and removing some of the decades’ worth of stuff stored in the crevices of the theatre. The track lighting was removed completely for the first time since the theatre’s inception, uncovering a patchwork of paint cans hung in the rafters to catch leaks in the ceiling. 

The backstage area, at one point in the theatre’s history the original scene shop, was stripped of its temporary dressing rooms and racks of stored materials, reducing the room to its original industrial roots. 

Unbeknownst to most patrons, there are a series of tunnels beneath the Mainstage Seats. The tunnels, used for actors and stage crews to have different access points to the thrust stage, were lined with all sorts of theatrical memorabilia – archival information, lighting equipment, boxes and boxes of the theatre’s institutional memory. The process of clearing the arteries of the theatre, so to speak, has been ongoing. The entire staff has pitched in to clean up and get ready to turn the building over to Petra Construction. 

Fundraising for the project continues to be successful, with over $3.23 million already contributed by patrons and friends of the theatre. However, Long Wharf still needs to achieve the last 15 percent of its total fundraising goal, and there are still giving opportunities, including naming seats in the new theatre. 

For more information about how to support the project, contact Director of Development Eileen Wiseman at 203-772-8237 or via e-mail at eileen.wiseman@longwharf.org

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Lauren Yarger with playwright Alfred Uhry at the Mark Twain House. Photo: Jacques Lamarre)

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