Chester Playhouse Rebuild in Progress
While construction began on the Playhouse in the spring of 2022, we really started to see progress as the summer began.
The steel trusses for the roof arrived in early July along with the steel deck giving us a first look at the foundation for the new roof.
More progress in August, with fire-rated gypsum wallboard up on the exterior of both the east and west sides which will then be covered with Roxul insulation and aluminum siding.
The steel roof assembly over the theatre portion is complete except for some vent penetrations.
The balcony floor structure has been decked in, providing a platform to help build the third floor. You can see that the balcony railing for the tech gallery has been partially built.
Work continues into September with more interior work, and additional work on the roof in preparation for final installation.
The building is on course to be weather tight before the snow flies, allowing for work to carry on inside throughout the winter.
New photos from late September. This time we have stairs leading up to the third floor where the Chester Playhouse offices will be located.
We near the end of October and the third floor office space and roof are the center of attention. The LVL (composite wooden) beams for the front section arrived late and Plan-It has started to frame-in the third floor at the front. The wood trusses for the green room at the back are next to arrive. Closing in and being roof-tight should be achieved by the second week in November.
Did you see the newest addition to your beloved playhouse? It’s big, and red and shares some exciting news!
Next summer a very new and improved Playhouse will reopen! In addition to the new fixed seating (that was purchased but not yet installed at the time of the fire), here are the highlights:
Stage Floor – This will be rebuilt as a modern, semi-sprung floor more suitable for dance, movement, theatre school and community use
Artist space – The stage will now be accessible with a lift at stage left. The backstage area will be maximized for use and storage, and include an accessible washroom/change room. The Green Room above the stage will be thoughtfully equipped to serve artists well.
Theatre technical performance – From digital wiring throughout to placement of new sound and lighting, theatre systems will be customized to enhance the artist and audience experience. The Playhouse will be fully equipped for live streaming and hybrid presentations, a new standard for performance venues.
Film Presentation – The projector, sound and screen will be at a high commercial grade, meeting the criteria for live stream presentations and delivering an exceptional audience experience. This will be your favourite cinema!
Hosting Spaces – The ceiling height in the new main floor lobby bar area has been raised creating a more open environment. The former second floor bar is now a very functional, enclosed multi-purpose room for use as a patron lounge or a meeting space and includes a washroom.
Staff Work Environment – The new third floor area will be bright and well laid out to meet staff needs and provide flexibility. The Ondaatje Room and the Green Room will also be equipped to serve as workshop and meeting spaces.
Accessibility – The entry, lower and upper lobby and theatre will be fully accessible and serviced by an accessible washroom. The stage and backstage will also be accessible, including the washroom. Plans include a stair lift to the second floor Ondaatje Room. The Theatre will be serviced by a Hearing Loop system for use by the hearing impaired.
Air Quality – As with the restoration project, air circulation, heating and cooling have been prioritized. The difference is that system design and installation no longer involve maneuvering through a difficult existing structure.
Green Energy – All technical theatre lighting will be LED, and the insulation qualities of the rebuilt structure will add to energy efficiency.
Code Changes – The building will satisfy National Building Code requirements for fire safety at a place of assembly, protecting the building from external fire events and protecting adjacent neighbours from a fire event at the Playhouse. Previously, the Playhouse was grandfathered with respect to many code issues. The standard for fire protection in a public venue is a sprinkler system. This solution is not available to the Playhouse due to the lack of a public water supply in the Village of Chester. The approved alternative approach, incorporating specific construction materials, defined “zones” and extensive venting and alarm systems has added substantially to the costs of rebuilding.
Throughout the winter months, construction carries on inside the playhouse! The theatre itself is taking shape, as well as the framing of the artist’s green room and offices!
We continue to move closer to our Grand Re-Opening and are excited to be able to share a look at the work in progress!
Keep checking back for more updates and photos as construction continues on your Chester Playhouse.