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Round House Theatre Opens After Impressive Renovations

Sep. 18, 2019
Renovated Theatre - Round House Theater Opening Night

Dubbed by the press as “the current meteor in DC Theater”, tonight Round House Theatre hosts opening night after an impressive 8-month, $9 million renovation! This Bethesda, Maryland community staple was redesigned to continue its trajectory in the theater scene as a space to captivate audiences with stories that inspire and demand conversation. McLaren provided structural engineering and teamed with Charcoalblue, Forrester Construction and Kamm Architecture to bring this project center stage with an expanded lobby featuring a new staircase, back of house modernization, acoustic improvements and so much more.

For Theatre’s entryway, McLaren provided structural design of the new feature staircase, extension of the second-floor lobby plate to include 2 new cantilevered balcony elements and everything around the box office. This inviting bar area is open before and after the show and will serve light -fare associated with the performances. All the elements work together to create an inviting area for theater goers to keep the conversation going.

“Theatergoing has changed a lot in the 20 years since it was designed, and now that we’re competing a lot more with outside entertainment options and also the ‘cocooning’ phenomenon of people staying home and watching Netflix. People are looking for theater to be more of an experience now,” says Ed Zakreski, Round House’s managing director. “Part of our mission is to do shows that demand conversation and we wanted to provide a place for that conversation to occur.”

Round House Theatre kicked off its new renovations and 2019-2020 Season with Jocelyn Bioh’s School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play, directed by Associate Artistic Director Nicole A. Watson. The fast-moving play follows a group of schoolgirls vying for the title of Miss Ghana 1986.

The theatre’s modifications maximized allowable program space, increased intimacy and connection between audience and performers, and improved acoustics and sightlines.