HONOLULU – December 15, 2022 – After successfully navigating an unprecedented couple of years and a construction market significantly disrupted by COVID-19, Studio RED Architects along with Cumming Group, and Allied Builders System have completed work on the new highly-anticipated Diamond Head Theatre.
“Our team was honored to design a state-of-the-art space for the nation’s third oldest continuously operating community theatre,” said Jared Wood, partner at Studio RED Architects. “This space will serve as an anchor to Honolulu’s theater community, and we can’t wait for Diamond Head Theatre to open its doors.”
The new 17,000-square-foot world-class Diamond Head Theatre features room for 482 seats, a large proscenium opening for optimal viewing, accessible catwalks and large mezzanines, a scene shop with a dedicated onsite painting area, a much-needed fly loft, and larger dressing rooms closer to the stage to better accommodate cast members and staff.
The auditorium roof structure was particularly complex. Two 20,000-pound main trusses were spliced in the field and lifted to create the 75-foot span over the auditorium. The structural steel roof design in the theatre is also unique, in that the roof structure also supports the catwalks, ships ladders, and platforms. This design will allow staff and volunteers to move safely while accessing the grid, rigging, lighting, and audio-visual systems.
“Despite significant supply chain issues and navigating strict COVID protocols, we were able to all come together with creative solutions and deliver an outstanding live entertainment space,” said, Andrew Tanton, vice president at Cumming. “We could not be prouder of the entire development team – the set is now staged for a premier venue and a wonderful cultural experience that the Honolulu community will embrace.”
In addition to all of the significant interior improvements the new Diamond Head Theatre boasts, the exterior was also a major priority given Honolulu’s unmatched natural beauty. Adding a spacious covered outdoor lobby area and providing guests with an expansive lanai and lawn space to take in the direct views of Diamond Head will provide yet another memorable guest experience.
“Our project had a myriad of special needs and unique challenges including accommodating important design district requirements, special to our neighborhood,” said DHT Executive Director, Deena Dray. “The collaboration and the care with which our new theatre was built would not have been possible without this stellar team.”
Production and technical capabilities were also completely revisited in the new building with cutting-edge theatre lighting, A/V and IT infrastructure installed to provide a state-of-the-art and impactful guest experience for years to come.
“Without a doubt, this project was built on teamwork,” said Ku’ulei Ka’anoi, Project Manager at Allied Builders System. “Communication, commitment, and trust, amongst all team members, were key to overcoming challenges caused by the pandemic and creating this amazing theater. We are honored to be a part of Diamond Head Theatre’s history and share the excitement of raising the curtain for many decades to come.”
Dating from before WWII, the original Diamond Head Theatre was built in 1933 by the Army to be used as the Fort Ruger USO movie cinema. “The Broadway of the Pacific” as the Diamond Head Theatre is known by many, presents six full-scale productions each year, most of which cannot be staged anywhere else in Hawaii, and supports numerous community programs that serve keiki to kupuna year-round.