Main Street Theater Restoration FITCHBURG, MA
he downtown Fitchburg Theater Block consists of a 2-story commercial building and a 1,751-seat performance/movie theater. The theater opened on February 7, 1929 as a movie house with live (often Vaudeville) performances and a Wurlitzer Style 190-pipe organ. The last time the theater was used was the early-1980’s, and it has seriously deteriorated since then. Thirty years later, the Fitchburg Theater Block was purchased by Fitchburg State University to create a performing arts center.
The first phase of work was a physical assessment of the entire block and the development of a phased renovation plan. Phase One of the renovation, completed in the fall of 2018, is the FSU Game Studio + ideaLab.
Phase Two is the theater renovation, with an expected opening date of 2023. The lobby and audience chamber are being restored based on limited historic records. The stage will be a fully functioning performance venue with a restored fly-loft and modern theatrical equipment. The audience chamber seats 1,200 with 700 seats at the orchestra level and 500 seats on a mezzanine level. The orchestra and mezzanine seating can be separated by a curtain, creating a smaller performance venue. The Main Street storefronts are being combined to create an expanded lobby and function spaces. Additions on the east and west sides of the audience chamber will provide vertical circulation, loading dock/freight elevator, and corridors connecting the front and back of house spaces.
A black box theater will be Phase 3. The space will seat up to 200 and includes stand alone back of house facilities, including a scene shop. The theater itself includes a wraparound audience balcony and a theatrical tension grid system.
- Outstanding Renovation Project, Learning by Design