The Theatre in the Park is a popular family destination in Shawnee Mission Park, featuring professional performances by local and regional theater groups. The program is nationally known for its outreach to children—and adults--interested in the performing arts. For years, the program had functioned with deteriorating dressing rooms, with poor lighting and insufficient HVAC systems. The challenge for the new Dressing Room Facility was straightforward: provide the performers with a functional space to prepare for their performances, while tapping into the irresistible energy and drama of the theater to inform the architecture. Since the building’s primary usage occurs in the hours immediately before and after sundown, the materials playfully interact with both natural and artificial lighting. The summer skies are still illuminated by the sun as the performers make their final preparations for the show, and they benefit from diffused daylight that enters the space from both sides as they dress and apply their make-up. Conversely, as the sun sets and the curtain falls, interior light spills onto the area in front of the Dressing Room Doors, providing light for the actors as they rush between the stage and their dressing area.
To increase efficiency and provide an orderly circulation pattern, the Design Team divided the building down the center and lined the walls with dressing stations - each complete with individual costume storage and professional lighting.
Taking cues from traditional stage crew uniforms comprised of all black, the long walls of the building are constructed out of dark bronze corrugated metal. The dark metal blends with the other support structures on site, fading into the background as glimpsed by the audience. Translucent polycarbonate sheathing makes up the shorter walls and pops of color announce the entrances.
Dan Maginn FAIA as Principal-in-Charge of the project while at el dorado inc.