Billie Holiday Theatre

Photo © Francis Dzikowski
Photo © Francis Dzikowski
Photo © Francis Dzikowski
Photo © Francis Dzikowski
Photo © Francis Dzikowski
Photo © Francis Dzikowski
Photo © Francis Dzikowski
MBB Architects
1M - 100M

Founded in 1972, The Billie Holiday Theatre has been a vital part of the neighborhood for over 40 years. The Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation manages the theatre which anchors the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Plaza as a destination for the arts in the neighborhood. The project, a result of the DDC’s Design Excellence Program and a collaboration with the Department of Cultural Affairs, focuses on strengthening the theatre’s bond with the community and the relationship between audience and performer while enhancing its well established identity. The renovation of the 3,200 sq ft, 191 seat theater includes a redesign of the house entry and seating, the stage geometry, and the support spaces. State-of-the-art theatrical systems and handicap accessibility were incorporated in the design. The theater is a multi-function space during the off-season further cementing its role as a community center.

This renovation reinforces the theater’s role as a community hub through introducing much-needed flexibility, allowing new activities such as dance and video projection. The majority of the existing building was reused to minimize construction waste, and new materials with low-emitting characteristics were specified. The new mechanical equipment mitigates noise pollution for both adjacent tenants and our client. The upgrade of life safety systems included a comprehensive evacuation plan that complimented the unique qualities of the theater’s traditional circulation, so that the theater’s loyal fan base had a familiar and clear route to follow for emergency egress.

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