Theatre Projects is thrilled to announce the opening of Brown University’s Lindemann Performing Arts Center this month.
“That this ‘morphable’ venue can be a concert hall on Monday and endstage on Tuesday is a testament to what a creative design team working closely with the Brown Arts Institute can achieve in responding to the performance needs of the University,” shares project manager and Theatre Projects director David H. Rosenburg.
The Lindemann is a fully transfigurable hall, radical in its creative capacity and ideal for an educational and experimental environment. Part of its magic is the ability to shift through “preset” configurations. Users engage unique manual and automated operations, above and below the stage, to achieve five primary arrangements—concert hall, immersive media cube, flat floor, recital hall, and proscenium theatre—all with relative speed and limited labor.
The venue engages with an emergent design philosophy that prioritizes extreme flexibility across a wide range of nontraditional use-cases. Its malleability limits barriers to users’ imagination and prioritizes accessibility. Past Theatre Projects venues like Virgina Tech’s Moss Arts Center, the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, and the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre (another REX collaboration) also subscribe to this approach.
“Our design mantra was ‘as few loose parts as practical,’” notes senior equipment designer and Theatre Projects principal Michael Nishball. “While we integrated the stage equipment to achieve the five main arrangements, the potential for unique places of assembly is limitless.”
Accommodating the transitions are mechanized architectural, acoustic, and seating elements. Massive nested and mobile gantries track in and out—the largest of which travels 44 feet from the back of the house to the stage’s edge. Walls recede. A video screen rises from the floor. Drawbridges come down for technicians traveling behind the scenes. Nine-hundred-pound millwork ceiling reflectors adjust overhead to direct sound and allow for other performance equipment to fly in. Retractable seating tucks away or disappears down a level via a stage lift. The main space’s four sound-isolating glass walls with blackout panels embrace, hide, or control the abundance of daylight, depending on the needs of the performance.
The highly advanced stage engineering invites all manner of production: Brown’s student orchestra and chorus, experiential performance art, solo recitals, lectures, digital cinema, large-scale theatrical pieces, commencement awards, community dinners, and beyond. Whether the hall is arranged for 530 seated guests or an intimate, promenade-style pop-up, it accomplishes the university’s goals of elevating student experience and engendering new works by major artists.
Theatre Projects has long prioritized a philosophy of giving performers the tools they need and then stepping out of the way. A fit-for-purpose hall like the Lindemann gives this and more. Beyond the technical excellence and engineering flash, the Lindemann is a breeding ground for new work and an outlet for budding artists. The space offers something unique to the Brown community: a home for creatives whose ambition will always extend beyond a traditional venue.