TimeLine Theatre Company Selects HGA to Design Its Future Home

TimeLine Theatre Company is pleased to announce that it has selected HGA as the architect for the company’s new home at 5033-35 North Broadway Avenue in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood. Once completed, the project—which includes renovation of a historic building as well as new construction—will house the theatre’s future operations and support and expand its mission of presenting plays inspired by history that connect to today’s social and political issues.

“We are thrilled to partner with HGA to design TimeLine’s new home,” said TimeLine Artistic Director PJ Powers. “They have demonstrated a passionate connection with our mission, and their depth of experience and body of work with performing arts venues and renovations of historic buildings distinguished them among the impressive field of architecture firms that were under consideration.”

Powers continued: “HGA has embraced TimeLine’s vision for our Uptown home. Together, we’ll create a space that is inviting to the community, where patrons will want to arrive early and stay late for performances and engagement opportunities that feel intimate and immersive. I’m beyond enthusiastic to be working with HGA’s inspiring team to make TimeLine’s dream a reality.”

TimeLine Theatre

Founded in 1953, HGA is a national multi-disciplinary design firm rooted in architecture and engineering. Guided by its purpose to create enduring, impactful design, the firm works to build deep insight into the people and passions that animate each unique community with whom they partner. The new TimeLine Theatre design will be led by HGA’s award-winning arts and culture studio, a dedicated collective of 40 architects, engineers and specialists. For more than 25 years, the studio has designed award-winning buildings that inspire creativity, promote exploration, and engage their communities. Their studio-based approach provides a skillful, committed and knowledgeable team supported by the resources of a national firm.

With more than 100 performing arts projects in their portfolio, HGA brings an extensive degree of expertise to the TimeLine project. The firm has designed numerous flexible black box theatres; multi-use gallery spaces; inspiring, vibrant and well-functioning front of house spaces; and their portfolio includes many renovations that have re-purposed historic spaces for new creative endeavors. Past projects include: renovation and expansion of the Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center at Macalester College, the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts and the Walker Art Center; and adaptive reuse of historic buildings for Milwaukee’s Sherman Phoenix public market and the Jim and Joyce Faulkner Performing Arts Center at the University of Arkansas. (Details on these projects can be found here). They have worked on numerous projects in the Chicago area including the Chicago College of Performing Arts (CCPA) at Roosevelt University.

“We couldn’t be more excited to help TimeLine Theatre Company bring their new home in Uptown to life! Our best projects come from working with organizations like TimeLine whose collaborative culture elevates their insight and creativity in support of their social mission,” said HGA CEO Tim Carl. “Their artistic approach will have a unique impact on this project, from how it connects with the neighborhood to innovative spaces for performance. We are inspired to help them continue to be a positive influence in the communities they serve and look forward to creating an environment where art is developed and shared, memories are made, and spirits are lifted.”

Design Team

The HGA team that will work directly with TimeLine includes:

  • Tim Carl, CEO and design principal
  • Jim Moore, project manager
  • Rebecca Krull Kraling, theatre specialist
  • Nat Madson, project designer
  • Lyssa Olker, project architect
  • Ashley Ochiagha, interior designer

They join Chicago-based theatre planners Todd Hensley and Christopher Sprague of Schuler Shook, and project manager David Rotholz of Rotholz LLC, who have already been working extensively on research, planning, and preparation for the TimeLine project.

“TimeLine is excited to have the opportunity to work with HGA,” said Alvin Katz, chair of both TimeLine’s Facilities Committee and Architect Selection Committee. “No other firm we explored brings HGA’s level of expertise, experience and resources to theatre design, and through the architect selection process it became clear to all of us that they understand who we are and what we want to accomplish with our new home.”

“TimeLine is composed of a diverse group of stakeholders, and some of the things we found most compelling about HGA are their values of curiosity, empathy, and equity, as well as the process they undertake to gain input and consent from large and varied groups of people during the design process,” said TimeLine Managing Director Elizabeth K. Auman. “A collaborative process is very important to how TimeLine works, and partnering with HGA gives us an opportunity not only to achieve our dream home, but also to learn from their team about how they create.”

TimeLine’s New Home

TimeLine announced in December 2018 that it had purchased property in Uptown—encompassing a five-story, 45,500-square-foot warehouse building plus a vacant lot near the corner of Broadway and Argyle—to be the site of its new home. Preliminary plans feature two intimate and flexible black box theatres seating up to 250 and 150 audience members, respectively. TimeLine’s new home also provides an expanded area for the immersive lobby experiences that are a TimeLine hallmark, new opportunities for education and engagement, room to allow audience members to arrive early and stay late for theatergoing experiences that extend far beyond the stage, and more.

The company has long been bursting at the seams of its current leased home located at 615 W. Wellington Avenue in Chicago’s Lakeview East neighborhood, where the theatre has been in residence since 1999. Over the years, it has increasingly faced numerous limitations that constrain artistry, hamper audience accessibility and comfort, and challenge the ongoing financial sustainability that is critical for long-term success.

With the selection of HGA as architect, TimeLine furthers its new home project, which is expected to take approximately three years to complete as the company moves through overlapping design, fundraising, and construction phases.

In the meantime, TimeLine will continue to maintain its operations and present the majority of its productions at its current home in Lakeview East.

TimeLine’s architect selection process was overseen by a special committee chaired by Board Member Alvin Katz (Partner, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP) and including Board Members Philip E. Cable (President, John A. Cable Foundation) and Anne Voshel (Founder and Principal, AVA

Consultants); TimeLine staff members PJ Powers (Artistic Director), Elizabeth K. Auman (Managing Director), and Nick Bowling (Associate Artistic Director); Company Member Charles Andrew Gardner; theatre planner Todd Hensley (Schuler Shook); and project manager David Rotholz (Rotholz LLC).

TimeLine’s new home project is overseen by its Facilities Committee, chaired by Katz and including TimeLine Board President Eileen LaCario (Vice President, Broadway In Chicago); Board Members J. Robert Barr (Retired Partner, Sidley Austin LLP), Karen B. Case (Executive Managing Director and President of U.S. Commercial Real Estate for CIBC U.S.), Thaddeus J. Malik (Partner, Paul Hastings), Nick Yassan (Principal, Rany Management, LLC), Cable, and Voshel; TimeLine President’s Advisory Council Member Alan M. Bell (Partner, Charity and Associates); and TimeLine staff members Powers, Auman, Bowling, and Dan McArdle (General Manager).

About TimeLine Theatre Company

TimeLine Theatre Company, recipient of the prestigious 2016 MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions, was founded in April 1997 with a mission to present stories inspired by history that connect with today’s social and political issues. Now celebrating its 22nd season, to date TimeLine has presented 79 productions, including 10 world premieres and 35 Chicago premieres, and launched the Living History Education Program, now in its 12th year of bringing the company’s mission to life for students in Chicago Public Schools. Recipient of the Alford-Axelson Award for Nonprofit Managerial Excellence and the Richard Goodman Strategic Planning Award from the Association for Strategic Planning, TimeLine has received 54 Jeff Awards, including an award for Outstanding Production 11 times.

TimeLine is led by Artistic Director PJ Powers, Managing Director Elizabeth K. Auman and Board President Eileen LaCario. Company members are Tyla Abercrumbie, Will Allan, Nick Bowling, Janet Ulrich Brooks, Wardell Julius Clark, Behzad Dabu, Charles Andrew Gardner, Lara Goetsch, Juliet Hart, Anish Jethmalani, Mildred Marie Langford, Mechelle Moe, David Parkes, Ron OJ Parson, PJ Powers, Maren Robinson and Benjamin Thiem.

Major corporate, government and foundation supporters of TimeLine Theatre include Alphawood Foundation, Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, The Crown Family, Forum Fund, The Joseph and Bessie Feinberg Foundation, Illinois Arts Council Agency, Laughing Acres Family Foundation, A.L. and Jennie L. Luria Foundation, MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at Prince, the National Endowment for the Arts, The Pauls Foundation, Polk Bros. Foundation, and The Shubert Foundation.

For more information, visit TimeLine Theatre Company.