Chicago has no shortage of revered theaters with long, fascinating histories. Among them is the Getz Theatre at Columbia College. In 1929, the Columbia College Chicago Theatre Center (also known as the 11th Street Theater) was constructed using an Art Deco style. After being acquired by Columbia College in 1980, it was renamed the Getz Theatre in 1985 after a major donation for renovations from the family of Oscar and Emma Getz.
More recently, over 30 years since its last renovation, the Getz Theatre spaces were completely rebuilt. As part of the renovation package, Flyhouse modernized the rigging capabilities of these spaces to meet the specifications of contemporary performance venues with the goal of providing better venues for theatre students’ and teachers’ needs. The project spanned three rooms within the building– the Courtyard Theatre, New Classic Theatre, and a new light lab.
In the Courtyard Theatre, Flyhouse installed four variable speed and two fixed speed ETC hoists that allow curtains and scenery to be flown in and out using a computerized control system. The system provides the students the opportunity to program multiple moving cues throughout a show while monitoring the load and movement of each batten. The hoists allow for quick and efficient changeover processes and are an exceptional teaching tool for how to manage complex automation systems.
New acoustically isolated pipe grids were installed in the New Classic Theatre (a black box space) and their new light lab to provide flexible locations to hang light fixtures, curtains, speakers, and scenery. This allows more dynamic design opportunities for the students and new production capabilities to invigorate performances.
Flyhouse enjoys improving theater experiences for students and faculty alike. These newly envisioned spaces will allow Columbia College students and faculty to flourish.