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Alliance Theater

Trahan Architects

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Project Name

Alliance Theater

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Concept Proposal


Alliance Theater

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Project Description


Atlanta’s Tony Award winning Alliance Theater has released final design renderings of its theater transformation by Trahan Architects, led by founder Victor F. “Trey” Trahan, FAIA, and partner Leigh Breslau, AIA. This is the first major building reinvention for the theatre since its construction in 1968 as part of the celebrated Woodruff Arts Center campus, also home to the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and High Museum of Art. The Woodruff Arts Center is one of the largest arts centers in the world, hosting more than 1.2 million patrons annually.

The project is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2017, with the Alliance Theatre performing its 2017/2018 season in 12 different locations in the metro Atlanta area, bringing live theater out into the community it serves. The Alliance plans to return to its new theater space for its 50th anniversary in the fall of 2018.

Trahan Architects was selected to reinvent The Memorial Arts Building, home of the Alliance Theater, the Atlanta Symphony, as well as educational and administrative facilities. The Woodruff Arts Center is distinguished by remarkable architecture designed by two Pritzker Prize winning architects, Richard Meier, FAIA, and Renzo Piano, FAIA. Trahan’s design concept focuses on providing visual access to the Theater and the Symphony from adjacent Peachtree Street, the city’s main boulevard.

The initial phase of work will include a complete transformation of the Alliance Stage, the theater’s rehearsal spaces, education spaces, and artist support facilities. The new theater design encourages visual and emotional connections between patrons with a design that wraps the room in audience. It minimizes the separation between orchestra and balcony levels, thereby rejecting the unjust social divisions they once represented. Trahan Architects’ design includes significant enhancements that include:

- Patron Experience – The Alliance Stage will have world‐class acoustics, comfortable seating that places the audience closer to the stage, new staircases and terraces that create better flow and sense of community and enhanced seating options for special needs patrons.

- Technology – The latest in audio and stage lighting will create a better experience for patrons and conserve energy and resources.

- Infrastructure – The new theater will include lighting catwalks for the first time and more dressing room and green room spaces for actors and artists. The Alliance costume shop will move to a 4th floor location in the Memorial Arts Building which takes advantage of existing skylights, and new spaces will be created in closer proximity to the Alliance Stage for rehearsals, education classes, and cast and donor events.

“Our patrons have become accustomed to emotionally transformative theater on our stage, and now through the exceptional quality of the design, our architecture will match and enhance that artistry,” said Alliance General Manager, Mike Schleifer. “The upgrades to the Alliance stage and audience chamber will inspire even more producing partners to bring projects to Atlanta for world‐class premieres.”

“The design of the Alliance Theater will transform the patron experience,” said Trahan. “The theater will truly be a one‐of‐a‐kind place for creating community in the performance space. The entire audience chamber, enhanced by state‐of‐the‐art theatrical systems, is tightened and slipped closer to the stage, which amplifies the sense of intimacy.”

The Alliance Theater’s renovation is part of Phase I of the Woodruff Arts Center’s Transformation Campaign. The $100 million Campaign has three goals: to strengthen the endowments of the Alliance Theater, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and High Museum of Art; to activate the campus through free community programming; and to transform the Alliance Theater.

Trahan Architects was selected for the project design from among 30 competing firms. Between Trahan and Breslau, featured projects include the design of the Louisiana State Museum, the Dallas City Performance Hall, the Chicago Symphony Center, and the Mercedes‐Benz Superdome renovation after its devastation by Hurricane Katrina.
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