The lights will shine once again on the stages of the beloved Rialto Theatre in downtown Bozeman. The design team, Erik Nelson and Brian Caldwell of ThinkTank Design Group Inc. with FAIA architect, Richard Fernau, in collaboration with Jon Evans of North Fork Builders, and acoustic consultant Charles M. Salter & Associates, have submitted plans to the city for a resurgence of the Rialto.
A public hearing is scheduled for May 9th at Bozeman City Hall, in the City Commission Room, and building renovation is slated to begin in June 2016 with the grand opening in June 2017.
The new space, which will include “black box” and “light box” theatres, will be reconfigured into a flexible venue designed to accommodate theatre performances, movie screenings, music performances, concerts, conferences, and a wine bar.
Plans include several much-needed modern renovations, such as the entry marquee, additional restrooms, retractable seating for optional open floor plans, and a commercial kitchen, but much of the design stays true to the historical fabric of downtown. Plans include a renovation of the current façade, returning it to its original grandeur of the 1920s when the Rialto doors first opened. Stages will also be designed to return the theatre back to its original purpose, as a live theatre venue for local and traveling artists.
Not only will the design be historically relevant and conducive to live art, designers have also given special attention to the advanced design of the acoustics. Sound will be designed and engineered by the world-class acousticians at Salter & Associates out of the San Francisco area. Projects by the Salter & Associates firm include the Walt Disney Concert Hall designed by Frank Gehry in Los Angeles, MGM film Screening Rooms, and the Harris Concert Hall in Aspen, Colorado, among many others.
With a national resurgence of live art, and such a need for a flexible live venue in Bozeman, the Rialto is sure to make an impact in the community and throughout the region. Caldwell of ThinkTank Design says, “We want to create a space where artists across the country recognize the Rialto as a respected, creative destination theatre.” The Rialto will certainly bring back the excitement of live theatre on Main Street in downtown Bozeman, as it did nearly one hundred years ago.