Since the opening of their new Lee Norvelle Drama Center in 2002, Indiana University’s original 1930s-era theater has been sitting, unused. Currently completing a full renovation, the space has been re-purposed as a combination venue hosting a cinema in the original theater house space, a black box performance space in what was the fly loft, and a movement studio in the former grid area.

Working with general contractor Messer Construction and project architect MGA Partners, Chicago Flyhouse was chartered to deliver several projects for the venue, including the design and installation of track and drapery in the Blackbox Studio Theatre and the upstairs Movement Studio.

Timing of this part of the project relied heavily on coordination with other vendors, as the curtains could not be installed until major construction work on the rooms was complete, and the areas were dust-free.

Flyhouse delivered 12 studio drapes installed in various areas throughout the Cinema-Theater venue. Fabricated by drapery vendor, I. Weiss, the curtains came in seven custom colors reflecting the architect’s design specifications.

The curtain heights, installation systems, and rigging hardware were designed and fabricated based solely on the construction blueprints available prior to the completion of the venue, necessitating detailed and precise plans. Flyhouse crews did not see the completed rooms until the day of installation.

One challenge faced by Flyhouse’s crew was the need to design the Studio Theater’s curtain around a 1′ radius in close proximity to a steel soffit, resulting in a limited amount of space for the track. Flyhouse was able to seamlessly address these issues and deliver a track that avoided the soffit and did not affect the positioning of the curtains.