University of Oklahoma, Elsie C. Brackett Theatre

Norman, Oklahoma

Associated firm: Fisher Dachs Associates (Theatre Planning and Design), Kirkpatrick Forest Curtis (Structural Engineering), Allen Consulting Incorporated (M/E/P), Idibri (Acoustics)

Originally built in 1965 as the Rupel Jones Theatre at the University of Oklahoma, this venue has hosted a variety of performances, including musicals, opera, ballet and dramatic ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCOST PER SQ FT$304.00FEATURED IN2016 Educational Interiors ShowcaseINTERIOR CATEGORYAuditoriums/Music Rooms productions. In addition to performances, the theatre also was used as teaching space for students learning about theatrical lighting, sound and other aspects of stage production.
After 50 years of service, the university engaged GSB Architects & Planners to carry out the first major renovation in the theatre’s history, including changes to the backstage areas, the house and the lobby.
Backstage enhancements included a two-part hydraulic stage lift, new stage rigging, new lighting, new curtains, fire alarm upgrades, new electrical panels and infrastructure upgrades.
The house received new ADA-compliant seating, lighting, paint, carpet, wall paneling, a light and sound control booth, and a dramatic acoustic treatment.
Lobby renovations included updated paint, carpet, a new energy-efficient glazing system, and expanded, ADA-compliant public restrooms.
In carrying out the improvements, designers made sure that the theatre remained capable of supporting a variety of uses and performances and that its outstanding acoustics were preserved. In recognition of a major donation to the project, the university renamed the 570-seat venue the Elsie C. Brackett Theatre. It resumed its use as a teaching and performance space in the fall of 2015.