Hanna Theatre at Playhouse Square

  • Client

    • Great Lakes Theater
  • Project Type

Design Achievement - The Hanna Theatre, situated within Playhouse Square, the first and largest renovated Theater District in the United States, was originally constructed in 1921. As part of a continuing effort to revitalize the historic theaters within the district and to provide a home for the Great Lakes Theater, an anchor production company and one of the country's top regional theaters, the Hanna needed to be re-imagined and modernized for today's audiences. DLR Group|Westlake Reed Leskosky's renovation of this historic theater preserves the historic envelope, while sensitively shaping and modifying the Hanna to heighten audience interaction, improve acoustics, and refine sightlines. An open plan connects the patron to the stage, breaking down traditional barriers among patrons and performers, stage, seat, and streetscape. The design infuses the historic theater with a bold contemporary sensibility and innovative theater concepts, while preserving and honoring the space's classic architectural elements. 

Scope Summary - The 32,000 SF renovation significantly reconfigured the original 1,400-seat theater into an intimate 560-seat proscenium/thrust stage theater with varied seating, including traditional seats, loose club chairs, lounge seating, balcony boxes, historic boxes, banquette couches, and bar stools. The thrust stage expansion covering the original orchestra pit can be hydraulically raised and lowered in three independent sections and reconfigured in a variety of ways, including the original proscenium orientation. The project also includes typical and atypical support spaces and other amenities designed to promote pre- and post-performance gatherings in the lobby and in-house orchestra bar, as well as updated state-of-the-art technology, acoustics, audiovisual systems, rigging, and an automatic, structurally independent fly system. The project conformed to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation, and was structured to take advantage of federal and state Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits.  The project, which achieved LEED-CI certification, includes state-of-the-art energy/engineering systems, recycling/reuse, construction waste management, and indoor environmental air quality. DLR Group|WRL provided master planning, architecture, interior design, MEP and structural engineering, LEED/sustainable design, theater technical, historic preservation, tax credits consulting, audiovisual, acoustics, and wayfinding design services.

DLR Group acquired Westlake Reed Leskosky in September 2016. Today, the combined design expertise and resources of Westlake Reed Leskosky and DLR Group serve clients as a global, integrated design firm committed to elevating the human experience through design.

Awards & Recognition

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  • Award of Merit

    Award: Ohio Historic Preservation Office
  • 26th Annual Reconstruction & Renovation Award, Silver Award

    Building Design & Construction
  • Award of Excellence in Design & Construction, Renovation Category

    Cleveland Engineering Society
  • Downtown Achievement Awards, Award of Distinction in Economic and Business Development Category

    International Downtown Association
  • Peggy Ezekiel Award, Award of Outstanding Achievement (Sound System Design)

    United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT)
  • Peggy Ezekiel Award, Award of Distinction (Theatre Consulting)

    United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT)
  • Excellence in Preservation Award

    Cleveland Restoration Society / American Institute of Architects (AIA) Cleveland
  • Award of Achievement in Architecture

    Northern Ohio Live
  • Best of Year, Award of Merit, Renovation/Restoration Category

    Midwest Construction