To strengthen the connection between actor and audience in Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s new seven-story home, we designed a 525-seat thrust theatre with three galleries surrounding the players, creating exceptional intimacy. With audiences on three sides of the stage and stacked from floor to ceiling, every face becomes a live piece of scenery, reflecting, framing, and shaping the action on stage.
The narrow site constraints of Chicago’s Navy Pier aided the theatre’s intimacy—creating an audience chamber that’s only 54 feet wide. The thrust stage is backed up by a stage house and features a fully trapped stage. The theatre was proclaimed by Sir Peter Hall, founder of England’s Royal Shakespeare Company, as one of the best Elizabethan-style theatres in the world. The venue also includes a 200-seat studio theatre, rehearsal hall, support spaces, offices, and multi-use spaces for educational workshops, seminars, and outreach programs. Since opening, Chicago Shakespeare Theater has grown into one of the largest theater companies in the city.
- 525-seat drama theatre
- 200-seat studio theatre