The Krannert Center for the Performing Arts
Count yourself lucky if you’re across the street from one of the finest performing facilities anywhere in the country. We do, in the School of Music, because our students, faculty, and audiences can use the facilities of the Krannert Center every day for performances, rehearsals, and classes. Our choral, opera, and orchestra faculty offices and studios are located in myriad rooms below the vast lobby. Industrialist Herman Krannert and his wife, Ellnora, spearheaded the financing of this architectural splendor, with its excellent acoustics and elegant public spaces. A two-square-block theatre complex, it covers nearly ten acres and consists of four indoor theatres, an outdoor amphitheater, and ensemble rehearsal rooms. A popular gathering place, the main lobby is designed for easy access, special exhibits, jazz improvisation or preconcert mini recitals, food, drink, and conviviality. It even has an international gift shop. The Foellinger Great Hall seats nearly 2,100 and hosts world-renowned visiting orchestras, guest artists—and definitely our local performers. We’re spoiled by the excellent acoustics and recording facilities, sometimes used by the Chicago Symphony and frequently admired by visiting ensembles. For operas, ballet, and modern dance the smaller Tryon Festival Theatre offers a wide and deep stage, great for special scenic effects and quick scenery changes. Still more intimate, Colwell Playhouse hosts jazz ensembles, smaller performance organizations, soloists, and more. The Studio Theatre is the smallest space and the site of experimental theater, poetry, and opera scenes, and other music productions. For more information, visit the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts web site.
The 2,066 plush seats and ample wheelchair zones of the Foellinger Great Hall have held audiences for the sounds of delicate string quartets, thundering operas, clamoring drums, light falls of ballet shoes, buzzing bagpipes, and thousands of other musical, theatrical, and dance performances over the last four decades. The open stage, golden butternut walls, and tiered ceiling contribute to the hall’s renown as a thrilling acoustic treasure that was designed by Cyril Harris. A green room, two star dressing rooms, concert lighting, a 60 x 48 stage, and two Super Trouper followspots make this an excellent venue for a grand production.
Home to the School of Music Lyric Theatre Program, the Tryon Festival Theatre hosts operas, ballets, modern dance companies, musicals, plays, and concerts by soloists, small ensembles, and touring companies. In addition to generous space for wheelchairs, seating is available for 979 people in the balcony and on the main floor. Two large chorus dressing rooms, three star dressing rooms, and a green room provide accommodations for large companies, and the 40 x 35 stage allows for spacious productions. The theatre also includes a computerized lighting system, two HMI followspots, and sound reinforcement and recording capability.
The Colwell Playhouse is designed for productions on a small scale and serves primarily as the main performing space for productions by the Department of Theatre and Dance at Illinois. With sound reinforcement and recording capability, it’s perfect for dramas or productions that focus on the spoken word. A computerized lighting system and two Zenon followspots are especially effective for dance programs. This theatre with a 38 x 30 stage seats 674 people, with wheelchair space available in two small balconies.
Whether they’re sitting club style or in straight-up rows, audiences in the Studio Theatre are treated to a cozy space for communing with artists. Because it’s completely flexible, it can be a home to theatre, dance, and music performances. Movable risers allow for several seating configurations, and up to 200 people can enjoy performances in this 2,700-square-foot space. Two moderate-sized dressing rooms and two star dressing rooms accompany the stage lighting and sound reinforcement capability of this adjustable place.
Located on the west terrace, the Amphitheatre was designed as part of the original Krannert Center structure to host outdoor events. It’s been the home to the summer music festival, student productions, and winter light displays.
Stage 5 is at once a bandstand, a grandstand, and a club stage. Set squarely in the center of the action—and located at the heart of our Lobby—it’s the home for musical events during Uncorked wine tastings, casual Afterglow concerts, pumped-up Traffic Jam events, and the little break in the day of an Interval concert. With plenty of space for special activities and the Stage 5 Bar next door, it can host small gatherings or handle wild throngs.
For more information, visit the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts web site