Our intimate, 400 seat theatre-in-the-round, only six rows deep and with no audience member more than 20 feet from stage, will open in July of 2021. The new theatre will ultimately replace the Upstairs Theatre and will be the only in-the-round theatre space found in a major Chicago theatre.
Campus Expansion FAQs
When is the new building going to open?
The new theatre building at 1646 N. Halsted is slated to open to the public in July 2021!
How can I get a tour of the new building?
As we get closer to the Grand Opening in July 2021, we’ll be sending out communications to our members and audiences about how to sign up for tours of the new building. Stay tuned!
What does that mean for parking?
Good news, parking won’t be affected! The parking garage at 1624 N. Halsted will remain and undergo cosmetic changes to its façade to create symmetry across the campus. Increased valet service will be offered to continue to make parking easy. Accessible parking continues to be available next to Front Bar at 1700 N. Halsted. During construction, the parking garage continues to be available to patrons.
Why did you choose a theatre-in-the round space? What will it look like?
The Steppenwolf ensemble wanted an artistically different space that would bring them back to their roots, where fearless acting is within arm’s reach. As Steppenwolf ensemble member Tracy Letts explains, “I want the audience to see me sweat.”
Our theatre-in-the-round space will be only six rows deep for a truly intimate experience that puts the actor at the center and the audience closer than ever before! Once complete it will be the only in-the-round space in Chicago!
So you will have 4 theatres now?
No, the new theatre-in-the-round will replace the Upstairs Theatre. The three theater spaces will be:
- Downstairs Theatre, 515 seats
- The new theatre-in-the-round, 400 seats
- 1700 Theatre, 88 seats
What happens to The Upstairs Theatre?
The Upstairs Theatre, which was originally built as a rehearsal space, will return to its original purpose and house two rehearsal spaces, after the new theater is complete.
How do I enter the new theatre building?
1650 N. Halsted will remain the main entrance to our campus. Upon completion of the 1650 lobby renovations and the new theatre building, all three of our buildings will be linked, allowing patrons to move freely between the three lobbies. We imagine 1650 N. Halsted remaining the primary entrance with a box office and coat room to serve all three theatres.
Does the new theatre have accessible seats?
Yes, based on seating configuration, the new theatre will have 12–20 fully-integrated wheelchair accessible locations and companion seats (versus the six that are required by law).
There will also be as an induction hearing loop and improved sight lines for performances featuring ASL Interpretation and Open Captioning, which upholds Steppenwolf’s commitment to accessibility.
What will be happening in the Education wing of the new building?
We’re so excited to have our FIRST dedicated space for Steppenwolf Education’s remarkable work. With this new building, the entire fourth floor of the new building will be an immersive learning space dedicated to their work. To learn more about all that Steppenwolf Education offers and how to get involved, visit steppenwolf.org/education.
What happens to the building across the street?
Steppenwolf has leased the 758 W. North Ave. building and will continue to use it as rehearsal space until the new building is complete. Steppenwolf will move out in the early fall of 2021.
Who designed the new building?
We are incredibly fortunate to be working with world-renowned architect Gordon Gill of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture and London-based theatre design team Charcoalblue (led by John Owens with theatre designer Ben Hanson and acoustic designer Byron Harrison). Chicago-based Norcon Construction (led by Jeff Jozwiak) is building the new facility.
How do I donate to the building campaign?
To play a part, contact Campaign Director Mercedes Rohlfs at email@example.com or 312-654-5694.
How do I learn more about it?
Check out steppenwolf.org/buildingonexcellence