The Ambassador Theatre Group

Colonial Theatre Renovation

Project at a Glance

Boston, MA


Elkus | Manfredi Architects

Project Type


Project Overview

  • Provided early decision-making and strategy support on the MAAB variance, existing plaster condition study and procurement of long-lead theatre seating
  • Tight urban site nestled between buildings on the Emerson College campus, with limited delivery access and no laydown area
  • Completing renovations in accordance with the Boston Landmarks Commission and other historic agencies
  • Utilized Matterport (4K, 3D camera) to best capture existing conditions and document progress via monthly virtual walkthroughs that were shared on-line with ownership

The historic and ornate Colonial Theatre originally opened its doors in 1900 and has served as the oldest continually operating theatre in the U.S. ever since. Recently leased by The Ambassador Theatre Group, the Colonial has undergone widespread renovations to modernize the facility and restore its place as a premier performance venue in Boston.

The project included comprehensive renovations to front and back-of-house services, construction of several bars, renovated bathrooms, accessibility upgrades, improved VIP facilities, a new marquee, complete re-seating of the theatre and the integration of a modern stage grid and rigging system. Aesthetic updates included patching and restoration of historic plaster and installation of new carpeting and paint.

Our team engaged in collaborative pre-construction services focused on building investigation, cost/benefit studies and options analyses to ensure a high-quality renovation for the established budget. During construction, the project was managed on a fast-track, six-month schedule with a non-negotiable turnover date to accommodate pre-scheduled performances.