Ford Construction Update #1: Setting the Stage

How do you launch a blog about a theatre like the Ford? How do you encompass nearly 100 years of history – the Golden Era movie stars that slouched in its pews to watch Jesus and Faust fret upon the stage, the rock concerts that launched careers in the ‘70s and ‘80s, the beloved local artists who call the Ford home and the people, like you, who came from near and far for that quintessential summer-night-in-LA experience?

The best place to start is with the present. With a 352-ton crane poking out of the top of the theatre, you may be wondering what the heck is going on over here! Let me get you up to speed: the Ford is currently closed for renovation until the summer of 2016. Right now, we’re updating our technical systems and completely rebuilding our stage to fix longstanding performance and flooding challenges. This means you’ll be able to enjoy your favorite music, dance and film events enhanced by the amenities of a state-of-the-art theatre. When we reopen, our artists will have access to a new digital projector and the latest light and sound equipment, ensuring that they can realize their vision as fully as possible, regardless of budget. In a way, this renovation also levels the playing field – which is a big part of what the Ford is all about.

To capture the scope of the project, we’ve teamed up with photographer Alex Pitt to create a time-lapse video. Despite being less than half way through with construction, we asked Alex to compile what he’s shot thus far because it’s just too cool to wait ‘til next summer!

As you can see, the stage (now affectionately referred to as “the hole”) has been removed and in its place is a 20-foot-deep excavation site. Retaining walls, which ensure construction workers are safe from the hillside above, will eventually become a lush backdrop with “crossover” space so performers and technicians can cross behind the stage without being seen. Also, the new stage will be flat (not raked like the previous one) and its lower tier will have more square footage, per our dancers’ request. A new ADA-friendly elevator and ramp will also be installed, truly making the theatre accessible to performers and audience members of all abilities.

Stay tuned in the coming months as we share more renovation updates, interviews with Ford artists, a look back at our illustrious past and much more!

Fun Ford Fact:  According to one of our structural engineers, the concrete walls at the Ford are only 80% dry – even though they were built in 1930!