2019 Outstanding Historic Theatre Award Winner
Auditorium Theatre, Chicago, IL
The Auditorium Theatre took home the 2019 Outstanding Historic Theatre Award Award during the League’s Annual Conference, the largest gathering of historic theatre professionals in the nation. The conference took place in downtown Philadelphia and was attended by over 330 historic theatre operators and service providers from across North America and the United Kingdom.
“The Historic Auditorium stood out among an impressive list of nominations to claim the award this year,” said Ken Stein, LHAT President and CEO, as he presented the award to Auditorium’s Interim CEO Rachel Freund. “Considering it is one of the great historic preservation projects in the nation, I am surprised it has taken us this long to bestow this award on the Auditorium,” Stein continued. The Outstanding Historic Theatre Award is given each year by LHAT to a historic theatre that has demonstrated excellence in community impact, quality of programs and services, and quality of physical restoration.
The Auditorium Theatre, an Illinois not-for-profit organization, located at Roosevelt University, is committed to presenting the finest in international, cultural, community, and educational programming to Chicago. It is both a National Historic Landmark and a designated Chicago Landmark with a seating capacity of 3,900.
The theatre is internationally known for its perfect acoustics, innovative architecture, and stunning sightlines. The 1960s restoration of the Auditorium Theatre is often considered the cultural event of that decade in Chicago, and the first large-scale historic preservation project in America. More recent work has included the installation of LED lighting adhering to the color temperature of the building as it would have appeared at the time of its unveiling, restoration of original Louis Sullivan stencils in the second floor Dress Circle lobby, and replacement of drapery and carpeting. The theatre brings in performers and speakers from around the world – in the past, the Auditorium hosted luminaries from Booker T. Washington to the Ziegfeld Follies to Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes, and was the original home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. In recent years, the Auditorium has hosted Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to Neil Young.
The theatre also offers extensive community engagement programs to schools and community organizations across Chicago, most notably through its ADMIT ONE initiative, which provides performance tickets, transportation, and workshops to community groups at no cost.