• Steppenwolf, Chicago
  • Exterior at dusk (image credit: Steppenwolf)

...two new theatres for a world-class theatre ensemble

Steppenwolf, Chicago


Project summary


Steppenwolf Theatre Company was founded in 1974 and built its 520-seat theatre in 1991. ‘Audience engagement’ drives the company, and they are now embarking on a project to add two new theatres and a new foyer, as well as refurbishing their existing buildings. Charcoalblue has led the development of the concepts for the adaptable theatre and black box studio, from capacity to room form to technical capability, including acoustic design.


The company is ensemble-led and designs have been workshopped with the ensemble, building consensus within the large group of stakeholders. Charcoalblue is collaborating with international architects Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill, with the project aiming to achieve a complete refurbishment of the existing theatre as well as significant new buildings on the site.


The first stage of the development has been the purchase of the furniture warehouse immediately adjacent to Steppenwolf's theatres and its conversion into new offices and a multi-function space - the 1700 Building.


Charcoalblue is also providing design advice on staging arrangements for specific productions - most recently Birthday Party in collaboration with the theatre's artistic and technical teams.