Northlight Theatre purchases Evanston property for upcoming move

  • Northlight Theatre announced the purchase of a Church Street property in Evanston where it will construct a new, three-story theater and community complex set to open in 2024.

    Northlight Theatre announced the purchase of a Church Street property in Evanston where it will construct a new, three-story theater and community complex set to open in 2024. Renderings courtesy of Eckenhoff Saunders

  • Northlight Theatre released a rendering of the interior of its proposed 300-seat theater, which is scheduled to open in 2024.

    Northlight Theatre released a rendering of the interior of its proposed 300-seat theater, which is scheduled to open in 2024. Renderings courtesy of Eckenhoff Saunders

 
 
Updated 7/14/2021 6:30 PM

With the purchase of a Church Street property in Evanston, Northlight Theatre is another step closer to returning to the city where it was established 47 years ago.

Executive director Timothy J. Evans on Wednesday announced Northlight's purchase of the downtown Evanston property at 1012-16 Church St., which will be converted to a three-story, 38,000-square-foot theater and community complex. Consisting of a 300-seat main stage, rehearsal hall, lobby, box office, staff offices and a rooftop "sky room," Northlight's new home is expected to open in 2024.

 

Estimated cost of the project is between $20 million and $25 million to be financed through private donations and other sources, according to a prepared statement.

The design team includes: architect Craig Smith of Eckenhoff Saunders, theater planner Todd Hensley of Schuler Shook and acoustic designer Joseph Myers of Kirkegaard Associates.

Established as the Evanston Theatre Company in 1974 by actor Mike Nussbaum (who served as its first artistic director), director Frank Galati and then Northwestern University doctoral candidate Greg Kandel, the theater changed its name to Northlight a few years later. In 1997, Northlight took up residence at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie where its subscriptions doubled in the first year, said BJ Jones, Northlight artistic director for the last 23 years.

In a prepared statement, Jones described "home" as a place where people are cared for, loved and respected.

"I'd like to think that Northlight will find in its return to Evanston just that, a place where we can share, through our development of new work, a common conversation and a safe space," he said.

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