the Colonial Theatre is the Monadnock Region’s preeminent performing arts center and niche film venue, and a key component in the economic engine of downtown Keene and the surrounding area.
But maintaining a building that is 95 years old, and managing a structure that hosts thousands of people twelve months a year is a never-ending challenge. In addition:
• Production and technological demands of the performing arts in 2019 are dramatically different from 95 years ago.
• Patrons’ and performers’ comfort and accessibility are concerns as The Colonial strives to attract the best artists, exceed patrons’ expectations, and deliver even better arts programming for current and new audiences.
• The Colonial Theatre’s programming has historically been defined by the physical limitations of a theatre which was originally designed for vaudeville productions and film. Today our Theatre is simply unable to host certain performances.
is to grow The Colonial Theatre into a world-class Performing Arts Center offering expanded opportunities and greater accessibility to performers, audiences and students.
The Colonial Theatre Group started working with Weller and Michal Architects in 2013 to secure a conceptual vision of how to address the strategies supporting the implementation of a new strategic plan, elements of which have already been under discussion for several years. When our vision is realized in late 2021, renovations and enhancements will allow us to serve an additional 10,000 clients, making the total traffic to the historical theatre in excess of 60,000 patrons annually — and greatly enhancing the cultural appeal of the Monadnock Region. Two key goals are:
• Expanding programming to engage a larger, more diverse and evolving patronage
• Improving and expanding services and amenities available to current and future patrons and performers
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Our Vision includes:
• Renovation of our inner and outer lobbies to create a spacious ticket lobby, patron lounge and dedicated concessions area.
• Interior renovations to create elevator access to all floors; as well as larger restrooms in the main lobby and new restrooms and a second concessions area on the second level.
• Crucial enhancements to our stage and backstage area, including the incorporation of new rigging and staging technologies, creation of an artist lounge area and new, contemporary dressing rooms – all of which will help attract world-class performers and performances to our venue.
• Improvements to our administrative space, including offices for Front of House staff on the first floor, production offices for visiting tours, and elevator access to the main administrative offices.
• Increased energy efficiency — including a renewable energy source — with new photovoltaic solar panels, all new primary heating and air conditioning systems, replacement of all exterior windows and doors, and LED source lighting upgrades.
• A new “second stage” — an intimate, flexible space, tailored for emerging artists, local performers, educational programming, and most importantly, artists who appeal to a younger demographic. We are working with Daniel V. Scully Architects on the preliminary designs for a potential second venue.