After a huge
renovation a few years ago, Arena Stage in Southwest D.C. has ambitious plans
for the future.
WASHINGTON, DC — There's
absolutely no mistaking that building on the corner of Maine and Sixth streets
in Southwest D.C. And some very big things could be
coming out of it in the coming years. Arena Stage certainly didn't look
impressive when it first opened in 1950. Even 10 years ago it would be totally
unrecognizable compared today, thanks to a massive $135 million renovation
undertaken from 2008 until 2010.
Arena Stage's two theaters, the Fichandler Stage and
Kreeger Theater, were left standing, but everything else was demolished. A huge
structure was put up over top of those theaters, and a third theater — the
Kogod Cradle — was added.
Even with the sudden explosion of brand new buildings
along the Wharf right across the street, Arena Stage's architecture is
unmistakable. Massive wooden beams hold aloft a gently curving roof, and an
all-glass facade makes it almost like a museum display case, showcasing the
original theaters as they once were decades ago.
Walking into the
lobby of this unique building when there isn't a show going on is almost like
walking into a cathedral: a dignified quiet envelops you as you take in the
enormous space and the long, circular ramps that lead to its individual
theaters. The goal in designing Arena Stage was to create a sense of intimacy.
And you certainly get that sense when you walk into
the theaters themselves. There aren't a lot of seats, so it's impossible to get
a bad view. Even the largest stage, Fichandler, has just 680 seats. And the
smallest, the new Kogod Cradle, has only 200 seats. The leadership of Arena
Stage has no interest in massive, sprawling amphitheaters.
Click here for the full article published on Patch.com by Dan Taylor on February 26, 2018.