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2011/12 Press Releases
Arden Theatre Company announces the Hamilton Family Arts Center
at 62 N. 2nd Street
$5.8 million expansion will create home for education and innovation
Media Photos

March 23, 2012

(Philadelphia, PA) Arden Theatre Company announces a dramatic expansion in Old City with plans to renovate a 22,000 square foot building into the Hamilton Family Arts Center. Located just three doors north of the Arden at 62 N. 2nd Street, the space will be a home for Arden Drama School, new play development, and technical staff. The completed building will include seven classrooms, an 80-seat theatre, rehearsal hall, parent lounge, teacher resource center, and crafts studio for set and prop construction.

“The Hamilton Family Arts Center is a huge step for the Arden,” says Arden Producing Artistic Director Terrence J. Nolen. “We are dedicated to the important role the arts can play in kids’ lives, and this building will allow us to significantly expand our programs for children and their families. Since the building will also house a studio theatre, our rehearsal space, and crafts studio, kids will have the chance to see professionals actors and artisans at work. I can think of no better way to mark our 25th Anniversary season than with the creation of the Hamilton Family Arts Center.” Once renovations are complete, the new facility will meet the needs of students, parents, and teachers with classrooms and common areas; serve as an ideal venue for play development workshops and staged readings in a flexible, small-scale theatre; and upgrade the workplace for artisans with a 25% increase in space from current scene shop facilities.

In 1995, the Arden purchased the building at 40 N. 2nd Street, transforming it into a two-theatre complex that hosts 450 performances and over 100,000 patrons each year. Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter said of the company, “The Arden is a shining example of the transformational impact that the arts can have on a neighborhood and on a city. The Arden’s move to Old City 17 years ago played a significant role in the economic revitalization of this neighborhood. Now, with the expansion into this building they will further that impact.” The Arden’s growth during this time has created a demand for more space, which has been met with the purchase of this 22,000 square foot building in 2010.

The design of the Hamilton Family Arts Center provides a literal and figurative window into process, with large front windows along 2nd Street, glass enclosed staircases, and windows between corridors and classrooms. Additional amenities in the building include a family lounge, a teacher resource center, fully accessible bathrooms for families, and dressing rooms for performers and students. Architect Richard Conway Meyer has previously designed education and theatrical spaces, including spaces for the St. Andrew’s School, Chemical Heritage Foundation, and Bryn Mawr College.

The Arden’s current Old City location at 40 N. 2nd Street, which will remain the company’s primary performance space, houses not only mainstage productions but also Arden Children’s Theatre and Arden Drama School, which have served nearly half a million children since their founding. Says campaign Co-Chair N. Peter Hamilton, “When the Arden approached us in 1998 about starting Children’s Theatre, we were enthusiastic supporters because we believe children should be exposed to the best art at a young age. Arden Children’s Theatre was the catalyst for Arden for All, the Arden’s education outreach program, and for Arden Drama School, which offers classes and camps for kids. This Hamilton Family Arts Center is a huge leap forward for the Arden’s programming for kids and the Hamilton Family is honored to have our name on this building.”

In addition, the Hamilton Family Arts Center will provide additional space for the Arden’s new play development work. Through the Independence Foundation New Play Showcase, the Arden has premiered 34 new plays that have received subsequent productions both nationally and internationally. The Arden has also launched The Writers’ Room, an innovative playwright residency supported by Independence Foundation’s New Theatre Works Initiative and The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage through the Philadelphia Cultural Management Initiative. The Hamilton Family Arts Center’s new 80-seat flexible theatre and rehearsal hall will provide an ideal venue for readings and workshops. Additionally, the increased space and proximity to the Arden will increase efficiencies for the Arden’s production team, housing all scene and prop artisans under one roof in a state-of-the art crafts studio.

The Capital Campaign Steering committee, led by co-chairs Lee van de Velde and N. Peter Hamilton, has taken the helm of this $5.8 million campaign. The campaign will cover the project expenses for the purchase and renovation of the building. Thus far, the Arden has raised $3.5 million in early leadership gifts which accounts for 60% of this campaign. Mrs. Dorrance H. Hamilton made a leadership gift to name the building the Hamilton Family Arts Center. Financial assistance for the project has been provided by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania through the support of Governor Tom Corbett. The Arden Board of Directors has supported this project with over a half million dollars in gifts. The Arden has also received leadership gifts from the Wyncote Foundation, the 1976 Foundation, Independence Foundation, The Smith Family, Nancy and Alan Hirsig, and Drs. Robin and Saifuddin Mama. Spaces in the Hamilton Family Arts Center are still available for naming recognition.

High-resolution renderings can be downloaded at www.ardentheatre.org/new. For interviews and details on The Hamilton Family Arts Center, press should contact Leigh Goldenberg at lgoldenberg@ardentheatre.org, 215.922.8900 x43.


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Arden Theatre Company is located at 40 North 2nd Street in the heart of Old City, Philadelphia.

The Arden’s 2011/12 season includes:
  • Clybourne Park by Bruce Norris – January 26-March 25, 2012
  • Cyrano by Edmond Rostand, Translated by Michael Hollinger, Adapted by Michael Hollinger and Aaron Posner - March 8-April 15, 2012
  • Robin Hood by Greg Banks – April 25-June 24, 2012
  • Tulipomania a new musical by Michael Ogborn – May 24-July 1, 2012

Subscriptions for the 2011/12 season are now available. Subscribers enjoy significant savings on tickets, the best choice of seats and a liberal ticket exchange policy. Call the Arden Box Office at 215.922.1122, order online at www.ardentheatre.org, or visit the box office.

Founded in 1988, Arden Theatre Company is dedicated to bringing to life great stories by great storytellers on stage, in the classroom, and in the community. We stage five productions each season as part of our mainstage series and two productions through Arden Children’s Theatre, the city’s first resident professional children’s theatre program. We create and produce new work through our new-work development program, the Independence Foundation New Play Showcase. The Arden Professional Apprentice program trains future theatre leaders, and our theatre classes through Arden Drama School teach children and teens about the craft of making plays. Our access program, Arden for All, makes our work available to the entire community through subsidized tickets and books for economically disadvantaged young people. We also offer sign language-interpreted, captioned and audio described performances and Pay-What-You-Can final dress rehearsals that benefit other nonprofits.

The Arden has received seven Philadelphia Magazine “Best of Philly” Awards, the Arts and Business Council’s Arts Excellence Award, five City Paper “Reader’s Choice” Awards, four Philadelphia Inquirer “Theatre Company of the Year” citations, 53 awards and 272 nominations from the Theatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia’s Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theatre, and was named “Best Theatre Company” by Philadelphia Weekly in 2009.
©2012 Arden Theatre Company, 40 N. 2nd St., Philadelphia, PA 19106. For tickets, call 215.922.1122.
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