PROJECT: New Victory Theater Public Spaces
CLIENT: New 42nd Street
LOCATION: New York, NY
SIZE: 7,000 Square Feet
Since first opening its doors in 1995, The New Victory Theater has come to represent more than just a child’s first experience with theater. It is both the oldest operating theater in New York City and the only theater dedicated to its youngest theatergoers. It is an important cultural institution in New York City having served as a catalyst for the rebirth and transformation of 42nd Street. Over the course of the last 20 years, The New Victory Theater has evolved from a radical, unproven, optimistic idea into a leading cultural institution, redefining our very notion of children’s theater and entertainment.
The current renovation serves to re-imagine The New Victory Theater public spaces to better engage audiences and build on the organization’s mission. The public spaces include a street level ticket lobby, orchestra lobby, upper mezzanine lobby and two lower lobbies. Together, these spaces serve all functions related to public accommodations such as ticketing, restrooms, concessions, retail and public programming. The pre-show, intermission, and post-show user activities and programs were developed with the integration of new technology and a design aesthetic to enhance the audience experience. Major components included creating a new identity through signage, integrated audio-visual walls, retail millwork, concessions and pantry facilities, and a new amoeba-shaped lobby space on the lower level for teaching artists and education programs.
The new lobby design welcomes visitors to participate in hands-on explorations of shows’ themes and art forms, imbuing the theater’s programming philosophy to break down barriers, foster creativity across economic lines, and deepen the relationship with the arts. The spaces were unaccommodating to growing the organization’s mission, intended to serve the public with educational opportunities and creating children-friendly areas that are compliant with accessibility requirements – a challenge with a multi-level space.
Developing the connections between the levels became major components to address in the renovation. The team worked to unify the spaces with cohesive materials and a brightly hued, color palette to reflect light and impart a playful ambiance. Visitors immediately have an impression before the theater experience, upon entering the street-level lobby and the upper level mezzanine.