The Forest Theatre planning committee is hosting two community workshops in the Koch Memorial Forest Theatre to gather community feedback on renovations for the theatre that would address the lack of maintenance and enhance accessibility.
Theatre Projects, a professional theatre planning consulting group, will help lead the workshops, which are open to everyone in the greater Chapel Hill area.
The goal of the renovations is to retain the sense of nature around the theater and honor its history while being "visually and physically accessible."
The first workshop will take place on Tuesday from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. at the Forest Theatre, and the second workshop will be held on Wednesday from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. at Reeves Auditorium in the North Carolina Botanical Garden.
The four leaders of the renovation project are Arts Everywhere Associate Director Kathryn Wagner, N.C. Botanical Garden Administrative Director Damon Waitt, Carolina Performing Arts Executive and Artistic Director Alison Friedman and UNC Fine Arts and Humanities Senior Associate Dean Elizabeth Engelhardt.
“Although the four of us are spearheading the initiative, we’re doing these workshops to get input from all over campus and Chapel Hill to respond to the needs, interests and the potential for all kinds of creative uses of the space,” Friedman said.
Playmakers Repertory Company, the N.C. Botanical Garden and Arts Everywhere are also involved in planning the renovations.
Wagner said the idea for renovating the Forest Theatre was conceived before its 100th anniversary in 2019.
“A feasibility study was launched in 2019, and it generated the kinds of upgrades in terms of accessibility and capabilities for the theatre,” she said. “That’s the kind of framework that we need to be considering in terms of theatre infrastructure and venue management.”