Nichols Center for Theater and Dance - Front Exterior

John D. and Alexander C. Nichols Center for Theater and Dance

In December 2020, Loomis Chaffee will begin construction on a significant renovation and expansion of the Norris Ely Orchard Theater (NEO). The updated facility, which will include the NEO, a dance studio, and black box theater, will be named the John D. and Alexander C. Nichols Center for Theater and Dance.

The new center, designed by Robert A. M. Stern Architects, offers expanded and more flexible teaching and support spaces, a completely renovated modern theater, and the combination of theater and dance in a single handsome facility. While the footprint of the existing NEO remains much the same, the renovation provides for an expanded stage, adding both width and depth, as well as increased audience capacity from 150 to 200 with improved sight lines. The plan also calls for a separate scene shop, a costume shop with storage, two dressing rooms, an expanded green room, and restrooms positioned more efficiently and effectively. Finally, the renovated NEO will include state-of-the-art technology in a soundproof booth and throughout the facility that will allow our faculty and visiting experts to teach these aspects of technical theater. 

John D. and Alexander C. Nichols Center for Theater and Dance
The John D. and Alexander C. Nichols Center for Theater and Dance, designed by Robert A. M. Stern Architects, offers expanded and more flexible teaching and support spaces, a completely renovated modern theater, and the combination of theater and dance in a single handsome facility. 
John D. and Alexandra C. Nichols Center for Theater and Dance - Rear Exterior
The dance studio’s west and east walls will be clear glass, rewarding those in the lobby with a view through to the Meadows.

To the south of the renovated NEO, the plan adds a spacious lobby, complete with ticket booth and cloakroom, a dance studio with a sprung floor, an expansive black box theater, audience restrooms, and a small kitchen. The dance studio’s west and east walls will be clear glass, rewarding those in the lobby with a view through to the Meadows. The black box theater will enable rehearsals, classroom teaching, and smaller productions with flexible seating for forty-to-sixty audience members. The small kitchen will allow us to host receptions and dinners in the lobby or in the black box in conjunction with performances or over Reunion Weekend. 

 

John D. and Alexandra C. Nichols Center for Theater and Dance - Entry
West Facade, Looking Southeast

To the south of the renovated NEO, the plan adds a spacious lobby, complete with ticket booth and cloakroom.

NEO Stage Rendering
NEO Theater

The NEO renovation provides for an expanded stage, adding both width and depth, as well as increased audience capacity from 150 to 200 with improved sight lines.

John D. and Alexandra C. Nichols Center for Theater and Dance - Dane Studio
Dance Studio

The dance studio, designed with a sprung floor, includes a rewarding view through to the Meadows.

 

First Floor Plan for the John D. and Alexandra C. Nichols Center for Theater and Dance