Steppenwolf Theatre's next big act isn't a world premiere; it's a gigantic expansion of its Lincoln Park campus. The renowned Chicago theater company broke ground this morning on an ambitious $54 million project that includes a 400-seat in-the-round theater, an entire floor dedicated to theater education and new social spaces for actors, students and audience members to interact.
“This is a monumental moment for us that is more than two decades in the making—built on the shoulders of the former leaders, the ensemble, the board, and the staff who have touched this project and together have made this vision a reality,” Steppenwolf artistic director Anna D. Shapiro stated in a press release.
The 50,000-square-foot building will rise at 1646 North Halsted Street, between Steppenwolf's existing building and its parking garage. The new building is scheduled to open its doors in the summer of 2021, marking the third and final phase of Steppenwolf's $73 million expansion project that began in 2016.
The in-the-round theater will be the first performance space of its kind in Chicago, surrounded by just six rows of seating that provide audience members with an extremely intimate setting in which to see a show. Other notable features of the new building include a wine bar, a sidewalk lounge and a two-story atrium lobby that will give patrons a place to hang out before and after performances. The lobbies of Steppenwolf's existing Downstairs Theatre will also undergo renovations during the construction project.
Take a look at some renderings of the Steppenwolf Theatre's forthcoming expansion and its in-the-round theater below.