TheatreSquared (Photo: Tim Hursley)
More than 550 Northwest Arkansas civic leaders and arts supporters gathered this week for a ribbon-cutting celebration at TheatreSquared’s state-of-the-art, $31 million new home.
“This is a signal moment—the opening of a true community space—and one we owe to a great deal of generosity and hard work by a great many people,” said T2 Executive Director Martin Miller in remarks at the ribbon-cutting event.
The new TheatreSquared is an architecturally significant new cultural landmark at the corner of Spring Street and West Avenue in downtown Fayetteville, Arkansas. The state-of-the-art complex opens its doors as one of the newest, most intimate, and immersive performance spaces in the country — “a theatre that lures the public inside” (Architect Magazine). London-based theatre planners Charcoalblue and Puerto Rico/New York-based Marvel Architects collaborated to design the building and performance spaces.
The new TheatreSquared houses two state-of-the-art theatres, the Walker Rehearsal Room, offices, education and community space, design workshops, eight dedicated guest artist apartments, and the open-all-day Commons Bar/Café. Outdoor areas on each level — a patio on Spring Street, a second-level terrace on West, and a rooftop deck — reinforce the organization’s ethos of transparency to the community.
Plans for a new home began to take form in early 2015 when the TheatreSquared Board charged a special community task force to recommend a long-term facilities plan for the company. The task force made a strong recommendation, which was then unanimously approved by the T2 Board: to launch an exploratory process toward building a new home.
In 2016, TheatreSquared received an “Our Town” grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and was selected as an inaugural participant in the Walton Family Foundation’s Northwest Arkansas Design Excellence Program. In spring 2017, the Fayetteville City Council voted unanimously to approve a 100-year lease on a publicly owned site in downtown Fayetteville — just across the street from the theatre’s founding venue, a converted warehouse.
In June 2017, the company broke ground and launched the $34 million Our Next Stage Campaign (which includes additional funds to establish the TheatreSquared Trust), with leadership commitments from the Walton Family Foundation, the City of Fayetteville, the Fayetteville A&P Commission, the State of Arkansas, the Willard & Pat Walker Charitable Foundation, and Joel and Lynn Carver. Fundraising is in its final phase, with 90 percent of project funds committed.