Photos by David Lamb
During the restoration of this historic theatre, a seamless addition was added to house the necessary, theatrical support spaces. All equipment was upgraded, and the historic finishes were restored to their original grandeur.
After a prestigious history of first-run movies and live entertainment the c1931 Paramount closed its doors in 1974. The theatre has 1,000 seats, about a third of which are located in a large, wide balcony where box seats also placed. The building is an integral part of Charlottesville’s Main Street in the heart of the downtown business community and the historic district. As such, the project received Historic Preservation Tax Credits through concurrent dialogue with the Commonwealth of Virginia and the National Park Service.
The scope of the project was to renovate the historic theatre to accommodate a variety of activities including cinema and THX Dolby-certified digital cinema (Charlottesville participates in the annual Virginia Film Festival), live music and small legitimate theatre billings, and a regional conferencing center for public and private interests. State-of-the-art audiovisual and lighting equipment was necessary to create a premier fully functioning civic center at the center of Charlottesville’s growing high-tech community. The stage was rebuilt as a sprung wood deck and extended into the rebuilt Audience Chamber, creating a 30-foot depth in scale with the 50-foot wide proscenium opening and permitting a wider range of performance product. Performer support facilities such as a new green room, dressing rooms, and rehearsal rooms were programmed into space created under the theatre and a new adjacent ‘annex’ building was designed to house breakout space, toilets and concessions, administrative offices, and a catering kitchen. Accessibility issues were addressed to make all facilities accessible to patrons and performers. Utility and flexibility for every intended kind of event were the project goals.