Founded 1988, The Irish Repertory Theatre (IRT) is devoted to bringing Irish and Irish-American works to the stage in New York City. In 1995, the theater made its permanent home in the Stanwick Building in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood.
Working with the IRT and the New York City Department of Design and Construction, Garrison Architects undertook a comprehensive renovation of the theater, including all performance and back-of-house spaces. The crux of the redesign was the audience seating configuration. Since the IRT began presenting plays in the current space, it’s been challenged by the awkward position of a quarter of its seating. Oriented at a ninety-degree angle to the stage, these seats have offered intimacy with performances but at the expense of a frontal view. Garrison Architects solved this problem by removing portions of the floor above and replacing the awkward seating with a new balcony. The balcony will seat forty audience members and offer direct, unobstructed sight-lines to the stage. The resulting two-story space will improve the spatial quality and acoustics of the main theater and reinforce the high-caliber performances.
The proposed design includes upgrading of the existing mechanical systems and resolution of all code compliance issues, including accessibility, fire protection and egress. The project is on schedule to achieve LEED Silver Certification.