writers' theatre
glencoe, ILLINOIS

Project Team

Studio Gang Architects

Theatre & AV Consultant
Auerbach Pollock Friedlander

Theatrical intimacy has been on of WT's core traits from its start in 1992, in part due to the acoustics of its distinctively cramped original spaces. Rather than attempt to mimic the sound of the old spaces, an impossible task in four times the acoustic volume, the new 250-seat Nichols Theatre derives its distinctive intimacy and clarity from the metaphor of a campfire in the forest – the primal concentric arrangement of audience around the center of attention in an exquisitely complex acoustic environment. The forest is rendered here in an elegant screen made of brick salvaged from the original building, simple at its base but transforming to an open, variegated sculpture higher up in the room. The screen speaks softly back to the actors, celebrating their voices, and achieving acoustic intimacy in a new and entirely compelling manner.