Austin, TX – Texas Performing Arts at The University of Texas at Austin (TPA) announces a privately funded $3 million renovation underway for Bass Concert Hall. Opened 40 years ago this spring, the theater is Austin’s largest performing arts venue at 2,913 seats and 261,517 gross square feet. In 2019, TPA welcomed 285,809 attendees. As public health conditions improve and large-scale events return, performance-goers can look forward to an upgraded experience that prepares the venue for its next 40 years of world-renowned performances, educational activities, and collaborative partnerships.
Previous renovations occurred in 2009 with an extensive lobby expansion which dramatically enhanced the front façade, and in 2013 with the replacement of the orchestra level seats. The current renovations are contained within the existing footprint and focus on improving patron safety and experience. Highlights include:
Balcony Sightlines and Seats: Dating to 1981, the original 1,241 balcony seats will be recycled and replaced. The side sections of the balconies will be rebuilt to improve sightlines and increase patron comfort. Seating rows previously facing the proscenium walls in these sections will be curved toward the stage, allowing patrons a full view from all balcony seats. Accessibility and sightlines for performance-goers who use wheelchairs and their companions will be especially improved.
Audio/Visual Systems: The audio/visual systems are being upgraded to expand capabilities for artists and designers. Renovations include relocating the house sound mixing position and new audio/video infrastructure to support recording and streaming.
Lobby Space: With creative reconfiguration within the current footprint, patrons will experience additional circulation space in the lobby areas to help reduce crowding.
Additional elements within the current renovation project include replacing aisle lighting for better visibility and all new carpet in the lobbies and auditorium. In a related project, the venue’s ventilation system has been upgraded to provide better air filtration throughout the hall.
“Our resilience during this devastating time for the performing arts will come from acting on opportunities to come back better than before,” states Bob Bursey, Executive Director of Texas Performing Arts. Bursey adds, “this major renovation takes full advantage of the silver lining the pandemic has provided and sets the tone for our ambitions going forward.”
Renovations will be completed in May 2021 with graduate recognition ceremonies for members of UT’s class of 2021 being the first events in the re-opened hall.
UT Austin Project Management and Construction Services is coordinating a team of industry experts brought in to execute the Bass Concert Hall renovation project. Partners in the project include Texas-based Pfluger Architects, led by Principal Frances Brooks in the Austin office; Turner Construction Company’s Austin business unit as general contractor; new balcony seating designed by the Dallas office of Schuler Shook theater planners; and audio/visual system upgrades and acoustic design by JaffeHolden.
‘Before’ photos, under-construction video, and additional architectural renderings are available upon request.
ABOUT TEXAS PERFORMING ARTS
Texas Performing Arts is the professional performing arts presenting program of The University of Texas at Austin and operates campus venues including Bass Concert Hall and McCullough Theatre. It is the home of the Lexus Broadway in Austin series. In calendar year 2019 Bass Concert Hall had the highest number of tickets sold of any theater in Austin, was #2 in the State of Texas and #22 in the world, according to industry publication Pollstar. Following a national search, Tony Award-winning producer Bob Bursey was appointed Executive Director in January, 2020.
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