Joan W. and Irving B. Harris Theater for Music and Dance
This new 1,500-seat, $52 million theatre is shared by a consortium of Chicago's mid-sized performing arts groups including Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, The Joffrey Ballet, Chicago Opera Theatre, and Music of the Baroque. In addition, the Grant Park Music Festival takes the stage each summer in conjunction with the adjacent Pritzker Pavilion.
The facility was planned to facilitate the needs of a multi-user space requiring fast "turnaround" between events. Schuler Shook performed extensive interviews with each of the original twelve user groups to find the best common criteria for the facility. Schuler Shook's theatre consultants then collaborated with architects at Hammond Beeby Rupert Ainge to develop generous load-in and staging areas, comfortable dressing room and lounge support for performers, extremely flexible stage equipment systems and an auditorium to support the varied needs of acoustics and audience size.
The auditorium design allows for varied audience sizes. Seats are arranged in a wide front orchestra area, a raised parterre section and a generous balcony. The balcony or parterre may be closed to patrons, allowing the active portion of the theatre a unified feel for the audience. Seating divisions will allow for audiences of 575, 1,050, and the full 1,500.