Theater PlannersSchuler Shook
Civil EngineerBayer Becker
Text description provided by the architects. The Otto M. Budig Theater, home to the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company (CSC), sits on a small but tall urban site along a historic arts corridor in Over-the-Rhine, one of Cincinnati’s oldest neighborhoods.
CSC shows have always been intimate; now that intimacy has been further enhanced with the latest technology and a comfortable, acoustically rich house. Capacity increased from 150 to 250 seats that hug the flexible thrust stage, all within six rows of the action. This allows audiences and actors to engage and energize each other.
Thirty-eight steps, one for each of William Shakespeare’s plays, ascend to a second-floor rehearsal and event space overlooking the bustling southwest corner of Washington Park. Pedestrians who look up may catch a sneak peek of swordplay or a soliloquy. Pendant lights hanging from a deep blue ceiling suggest starlight and Elizabethan-era open-air performances.
Materials reflect CSC’s integrity and personality, with a twist: Reclaimed wood harkens back to the original Globe Theatre; embedded mirror fragments sparkle and enliven the concrete floor; fabrication marks on locally crafted rolled steel are left visible—a constant reminder of Shakespeare’s richly drawn but “flawed” characters that come to life in every performance.
Expansive lobby windows reveal pre-performance buzz around the bar. The connections to a vibrant neighborhood, the intimacy of the performance space, and the use of materials in unique ways heightens the creative energy performers and patrons bring to live theater. The Cincinnati Shakespeare experience now extends from the moment you arrive through last call after the show.