LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The C. Douglas Ramey Amphitheater stage house in Central Park will be taken down after 24 years of use.
The announcement was made on Monday by Kentucky Shakespeare. The multi-use structure was designed in 1992 by scenic designer Paul Owen. In 2014, Owen re-designed the stage floor to encompass that surrounding trees and bring the performance space closer to the audience. This newly rebuilt horizontal stage structure will remain in place, while the upright portion is taken down.
"Due to structural and safety issues and to re-imagine the next chapter for our stage, it's time for us to take the vertical structure down," said Matt Wallace, Producing Artistic Director. "We got many good seasons out of the stage house, longer than intended. Now, with new seating, a new lighting truss, and body microphones incorporated, we are no longer limited to the playing area of the stage house structure. We've already begun work with Paul Owen on the design for next summer, and we'll be using this as an exciting opportunity to highlight the natural beauty of the park and the 'three sisters' – the three large trees that frame the stage in this beautiful Olmsted park."
The new, more natural design will align with the 2005 Olmsted and Metro Parks Central Park Master Plan. The amphitheater will be intended to be omnidirectional when not in use, with the stage house completely removed after each series, the press release states.
The 57th season of the free Kentucky Shakespeare Festival in Central Park begins May 31, 2017, and runs through August 13, 2017, with 8 productions running 66 performances over 11 weeks.