Today, U.S. Senator Jack Reed joined Trinity Rep’s Executive Director Kate Liberman and Artistic Director Curt Columbus to ‘raise the curtain’ on upcoming exterior renovations to the landmark Lederer Theater Center. Constructed in the Beaux Arts style, the building first opened in 1917 as a vaudeville playhouse known as Emery’s Majestic Theatre before changing over to a movie theater in 1923. Trinity Rep acquired the building in 1971 and built out two performance spaces, offices, production shops, rehearsal halls and studios. The Lederer Theater Center was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972 and Trinity Rep began welcoming audiences to the Lederer Theater Center in 1973.
As Trinity Rep gears up for a renovation and expansion to the Lederer Theater Center, a new $500,000 federal earmark from U.S. Senator Jack Reed will allow for the historic restoration of the building’s terra cotta façade. Strategic planning to renovate this space launched in 2017, with the goal of ensuring improved, accessible, and welcoming experiences for all audiences, artists, staff, and students. The improvements will allow the award-winning Trinity Rep to preserve its landmark building and beautify downtown Providence while improving physical accessibility and unlocking underutilized community and educational space.
“Trinity Rep helps bring people to Providence and it brings arts and cultural opportunities to a wide circle of audiences, including students. This federal funding will help preserve the character of this historic gem of a building while improving the theater going experience for audiences, expanding art education, and creating new opportunities for the community to come together in this space for live theater and cultural opportunities,” said Senator Reed, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee who secured the federal funding in the fiscal year 2022 appropriations law.
“All of us at Trinity Rep are incredibly honored and grateful to be the recipients of this funding which will allow us to move ahead on the restoration and expansion of our historic home,” said Executive Director Kate Liberman. “Senator Reed’s leadership has brought great momentum to our plans to ensure the theater is more welcoming, accessible, and impactful to our community.”
“Preserving the beautiful and historic facade of the Lederer theater is only the first step in our larger project, one that will ensure that we can occupy our beloved home for generations to come,” said Artistic Director Curt Columbus. “We look forward to working with Senator Read to continue to beautify and revitalize downtown Providence and to make Trinity Rep accessible and welcoming to all audiences.”
Founded in 1963, Trinity Rep has grown to become one of Rhode Island’s largest arts organizations and has a significant impact on the community, serving as a linchpin of Providence’s arts and entertainment district. The theater generates more than $13 million in economic activity annually. Trinity Rep’s educational initiatives continue to provide instruction and enrichment to people of all ages and abilities, and the Project Discovery program introduces over 16,000 youths each year to live theater. The tuition-free Brown/Trinity Rep MFA program has become a leader in graduate training for actors and directors by offering in-depth training in conjunction with a professional theater, and is widely regarded as one of the best in the country.
Trinity Rep also operates the Pell Chafee Performance Center, located nearby at 87 Empire Street, which is home to Brown/Trinity Rep MFA performances and education programs.