Build New England Award
Long Wharf Theatre Main Stage Renovation

New Haven, CT

Client: The Connecticut Players Foundation, Inc.
Architect: Gregg Wies & Gardner Architects

The Long Wharf Theatre project team received a Merit Award from AGC of Massachusetts at the Build New England Awards Gala on October 3, 2013 at the Intercontinental Hotel in Boston. The award recognizes how well the team as a whole worked together, from project management and innovation to contributions to the community, to enhancing the owner's investment in the project.

Throughout its long history, Long Wharf Theatre has created a unique home in New Haven for artists from around the world. An organization of international renown, more than 30 productions have gone on to Broadway or Off-Broadway. It produces six plays on its two stages during each annual season, along with children's programming, new play workshops, and a mix of special events for an audience now exceeding 100,000 per year.

Currently in its 48th season, the time had come for a much-needed makeover in order to provide artists and patrons a state-of-the-art experience. Petra was the general contractor for this $2.8 million complex renovation project which included a substantial increase in the size of the lobby, exterior improvements, major updating of electrical and HVAC systems and new, more comfortable seating.

Entrance & Lobby
lobby The theatre features a new fa├žade consisting of an anodized aluminum storefront glazing system with large bright windows. The architect's vision for the enlarged lobby area included a unique pleated wall of 80 wood panels with a clear finish. He provided the concept and initial design, and then collaborated with Petra's Millwork Shop personnel to determine the best way to manufacture it. A design was developed to make the installation as efficient as possible, while maintaining the special "look" which the owner and architect envisioned. Much of the wall system was fabricated in Petra's Millwork Shop to keep the installation time at the theatre to a minimum.

Stage Area
stageSpecial scaffolding was designed and erected so the tremendous amount of work required in the overhead areas of the ceiling could be completed concurrently with all of the work required at floor level. Without this special system, jointly designed by Petra's staff and the scaffolding subcontractor, New England Scaffolding, the project's scheduled completion date could not have been met. The work in the overhead area consisted of replacement of all mechanical systems, the fire protection system, and a massive amount of electrical work performed by Semac Electric, all while the work at the floor level, consisting of framing and seating, progressed.

Bar Area
barAn innovative design by the architect, the translucent light wall at the bar area was designed and constructed using backlit translucent resin panels. The specialty resin panels were cut to order and were installed on specially designed, very thin steel framing, because of the exposed screw feature required by the design. Petra worked closely with the architect to determine how to construct the wall in a limited space around an existing column, and carefully coordinated the installation with the electrical subcontractor, to ensure that the proper lighting effect was achieved. The end result is a wall that exhibits a very warm, sophisticated effect.

Schedule Constraints
Close collaboration amongst the Owner, Architect, and Petra was required due to the tight time frame to complete the project between the spring and fall seasons, a time when the Main Stage was not in use. Renovations began on June 8, 2012, and they had to be completed prior to the opening show for the Main Stage, which was already scheduled for November 28, 2012.

With rave reviews from across the community and the theatre industry patrons and artists are now enjoying the newly renovated theatre that showcases the unique industrial nature of the facility while bringing the technology, functionality, and amenities up to date.