Upper School Theater

Wilmington Friends School | Wilmington, Delaware

After a fire burned through its Upper School auditorium, ruining that space and the gymnasium, Wilmington Friends School needed new performing arts facilities delivered quickly and efficiently. Due to a previous partnership with Wilmington Friends, VMA was able to jump immediately into design and the project was completed two years post-fire. 

The highlight of the new performing arts center is a 500-seat proscenium theater with balcony seating. This is supported by lighting catwalks, a full fly-loft, LED lighting system, and an exterior bridge connecting to an existing rehearsal space. In addition, a new day-lit entry connects the center to the gym, which is situated directly below the theater. This entry, reclaimed from a narrow exterior entry court, now provides a new “front door” to welcome the whole community to the school’s  public functions. It includes a grand stair and multi-purpose meeting room. Lighting and acoustic treatments make the space inviting throughout the day.

Sustainability, which is an institutional priority, was an important driver in the school’s decision-making during the project. Despite the speed at which design and construction occurred, the collaboration merited LEED Gold Certification.


LEED Gold Certified
AIA Delaware Chapter, Design Merit Award (2014)

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Size: 27,099 sf (total project)
Budget: $8 million (total project)


Architecture, Interior Design, Sustainability

Upper School Theater

Wilmington Friends School | Wilmington, Delaware

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