The Arden Theatre Announces $5.8 Million Expansion Plans

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor One of Philadelphia’s most important art places, The Arden Theatre, is set to expand in a building located just three doors from its current location at 40 N. 2nd Street, between Market and Arch Streets in [...]

One of Philadelphia’s most important art places, The Arden Theatre, is set to expand in a building located just three doors from its current location at 40 N. 2nd Street, between Market and Arch Streets in Old City Philadelphia.

The former Classic Lighting Emporium building at 62 N. 2nd Street was purchased for $1.5 million by the Arden Theatre board in 2010. Under the newly announced expansion plans, the 22,000-square-foot building will undergo a $5.8 million redevelopment process to become the Hamilton Family Arts Center—home for Arden Drama School, new play development and technical staff, while the original space will be used strictly for performances. The Arden Theatre’s planned extension will include seven classrooms, an 80-seat flexible theatre, a rehearsal hall, a lounge for parents, a resource center for teachers, as well as dressing rooms for performers and students.

Seen as “a huge step for the Arden,” the Hamilton Family Arts Center will focus on programs for children and students and its new amenities will provide an ideal venue for readings and workshops. The entire Arden production team will benefit from this expansion as it will house all scene and prop artisans under one roof in a state-of-the-art crafts studio.

With financial assistance provided by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, The Arden Theatre has already raised $3.5 million in early leadership gifts, one of which, worth $1 million, was granted by philanthropist Dorrance H. Hamilton. Another $1 million gift comes from a Pennsylvania grant program supported by Governor Corbett, a $500,000 donation was offered by the Arden board members and the rest was raised through various donations from corporations and people.

The redevelopment project is set to be completed in 2013, when the Arden will celebrate its 25th anniversary.

Illustration courtesy of The Arden Theatre Company website