Chapman has completed construction of the new 13,000 sf, two-story Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater (WHAT) on Cape Cod.
The intimate 180-seat proscenium stage theater was designed and built as a world-class performance space. The theater provides high-end functionality typically found in much larger venues, including full backstage facilities, balconies, catwalks, stage wings, apron, traproom, fly loft, and extensive lighting controls and drapery systems.
The building’s spare and modernistic exterior mixes four-by-four-foot panels with areas of shingling that pay homage to the Cape Cod building style. Inside the theater, the ductwork, beams, and sprinkler lines are all exposed and as a result are incorporated as design elements; in the lobby, the gray and yellow paint scheme was selected to accent some of these elements, while in the theater they are painted dark and neutral to maintain the focus on the stage.
Chapman is working with Boston-based architect John Freeman of Platt Anderson Freeman Associated Architects (PAF). Chapman has collaborated with Freeman frequently over the last 10 years; significant projects have included the Mary Eliza Mahoney House and Cary Cottage, both at the Dimock Community Health Center in Roxbury.
Chapman Senior Project Manager George Dyroff explained that Chapman started construction even before the design was complete in order to ensure that the theater would open this summer, and therefore the later design details were worked out in collaboration with PAF as the job progressed. “Chapman works in concert with Platt Anderson Freeman Architects, and the architect welcomes our input into the building’s design,” says Dyroff.
WHAT is looking forward to staging performances in the new theater. “WHAT put its dream of creating a year-round state-of-the-art performance space into the hands of Chapman and architect John Freeman. As we approach the opening of the new theater, I am pleased to say that the experience with the Chapman team was completely positive,” states WHAT Managing Director Jeffry George. “Chapman created an atmosphere of professionalism with an attention to detail in design and construction that instilled absolute confidence. The final product is an exciting and stunning new theatrical venue and we are honored to have had the opportunity to work with Chapman to make the dream come true.”