Lancaster Country Day School, Lancaster, PA
A new performance venue creates a gathering space for the entire school and a collaborative resource for the Lancaster-area community. The 15,358 gsf Gardner Theatre has 580 seats, an orchestra pit, state of the art lighting and acoustics, and fly space. With a full-sized stage and professional theater fittings, the facility hosts the school’s musical and theatrical performances, graduation, and lectures. Its acoustics are designed to support a full range of shows, from the spoken word to the Lancaster Symphony Orchestra, whose residence at the theater launches this fall.
The exterior is aesthetically complementary of the school’s white vernacular. The interior undulating theatre walls are finished in white oak panels, enhancing acoustics, and masking indirect lighting. The railed overhead catwalks are accessed from staircases and securely designed for students to participate in all elements of a professional productions. LCDS feels this hands-on experience is invaluable preparation for college theatre programs.
LCDS’s 50-year-old Steinman Theatre will be transformed for black box-style productions and rehearsal space. In keeping with the school’s sustainable objective, adjacent spaces like classrooms and the gym, serve double duty as green rooms and support for theatre productions, reducing the project’s overall size and cost.
The theatre shares an elevator, lobby, restrooms, concessions area, and parking with the Physical Education & Athletics Center, that Murray Associates Architects P. C. was also the Architect of Record and Centerbrook Architects was the design partner.
Gardner Theatre is named in honor of Eugene Herr Gardner Sr., who passed away in 2016 and whose stewardship of Lancaster Country Day’s endowment ensured the school would thrive on a secure financial foundation. Four generations of the Gardner family have graduated from the Lancaster Country Day School.
Photography by Robert J. Polett