Yale University, Pauli Murray College, Lighten Theater

New Haven, Connecticut, USA

Theatre Projects designed this 65-seat Juliet theatre (think miniature courtyard theatre) within a new residential college in order to give non-professional student groups a versatile space to rehearse, workshop new projects, and stage small experimental works. The scale of the intimate venue is easily filled with an actor’s voice and presence, and a wrap-around balcony creates intimacy, giving performers immediate feedback from faces in the crowd. We designed a six-windowed brick wall at the proscenium as a ready-made backdrop that could be used as a scenic or staging element or covered with theatrical drapes. A motorized roll hangs above the proscenium and can be used for scenic projection or to use the theatre as a cinema. With all loose seating, the audience arrangement is entirely configurable and the room’s mix of LED and incandescent lighting helps students learn both systems. Additional features like a control booth, dressing room, and AV systems give this tiny theatre outsized potential.

Yale University, Pauli Murray College, Lighten Theater
Credit: Peter Aaron/OTTO

Yale University


Robert A.M. Stern Architects


Jaffe Holden


Yale University

Seat count


Construction type

New construction

Theatre type

Educational, Courtyard theatre


Concept design, theatre planning, theatre equipment design and specification



Venue website


Related articles