Byrne Theater (Barrette Center for the Arts)

HistoricIndustrialPerforming Arts

Location: White River Junction, VT

Completed Date: June 2015

Project Type: Historic Renovation

Application: Front of House

Architect: Bread Loaf Architects, Planners, Builders

Consultant: Project Consultants, Inc.

Construction Manager: Bread Loaf Architects, Planners, Builders

Northern Stage has found a new home in a converted automotive building on Gates Street in White River Junction, VT. The Byrne Theater is located inside of the Barrette Center for the Arts, and the industrial nature of the facility became the theme of the building’s renovation, using the existing architectural details to create a contemporary environment with detailing such as exposed ventilation and trusses and a metal exterior.

Repurposing the manufacturing space allowed the Barrette Center to reduce design and construction costs while creating a dynamic and modern space. Every aspect of the building has been designed to maximize usability, such as developing the space under the raised seating for coat check and concession areas. The efficient design allows the facility to host additional public amenities, including an art gallery, café, and outdoor courtyard, in addition to office and rehearsal spaces.

The design team’s careful attention to detail and maximization of both usability and versatility is further illustrated by the inclusion of a SkyDeck™ system. The 2,709 square foot grid extends over the modified thrust stage into the front of house. It is curved to fit the arc of the thrust stage, and is composed of 47 individual panels. The closeness of the seating to the stage in the 240-seat house and the size constraints of the building required a smart design of the lighting and rigging systems required for a fully-functioning production house. SkyDeck™ provides for this by maximizing the space above the stage without compromising the ability of those below to set up scenery.

The Barrette Center also installed a complex performance lighting system, with 192 dimmable circuits and all-LED house lighting, with the intent to transition to full LED stage lighting in the future. This will be made possible by swapping out modules in the dimmer racks, and SkyDeck™ adds to the ease of this by placing the lighting equipment safely within reach of any technician without the need of harnesses and unstable ladders.

The Barrette Center for the Arts is a striking addition to the downtown area, with high functionality and contemporary design. With a SkyDeck™ system in place, the Byrne Theater will continue to be a dynamic performance space for Northern Stage and the White River Junction area for years to come.

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