Home to the Asheville Community Theatre since 1972, the building at 35 Walnut Street received its first major renovation under McMillan Pazdan Smith’s careful guidance in 2017. The design team included a wide range of specialists, from lighting and rigging to sound, A/V, and seating consultants, collaborating holistically in a shared 3D BIM model. Together this team was charged with updating the theatre in every aspect possible — balancing the needs for building code and material finish updates with a desire for enhanced performance capabilities — all within a very firm budget.
Working within the existing theatre configuration, the team first addressed the physical condition of the facility, bringing it up to code for accessibility and fire safety, addressing plumbing deficiencies, repairing roof leaks, and reworking the apron of the stage and side stage area to enhance the performance and patron experience. Upgraded backstage support areas, green rooms and dressing rooms rounded out the major renovations. The team then proceeded to correct acoustic and aesthetic issues through a series of wall panel treatments, as well as new furniture, fixtures, casework, flooring, lighting and finishes.
To satisfy the client’s goals for improved functionality, a significant portion of the budget was reserved for upgrades to theatrical lighting, rigging, catwalk and grid systems. Additional electrical and mechanical system upgrades also improved conditions for the audience, actors and crew alike.
Phase 1 of the project was completed on schedule and under budget in July 2017 at a cost of $1.05 million. Phase 2 is expected to potentially include a new black box theatre and education complex adjacent to the existing building.