Several years ago, the Eastman School of Music developed a plan to renovate Eastman Theatre to the highest contemporary standards and to link the project with the construction of new facilities to support and expand the School's academic mission.
Eastman Theatre has been carefully maintained through the years; however, it has not been renovated to incorporate advances in acoustics, lighting, and accessibility. The design of the new facility maintains the beauty and integrity of the original structure while improving acoustics to enhance concerts for audiences and performers.
The current project received $13 million in grants from New York State in 2007. The remaining $33.5 million of the approximately $46.5 million needed will be sought from individual, foundation, and corporate supporters. To date, leadership commitments have been received from Eastman Kodak Company and the Davenport-Hatch Foundation. The Eastman School of Music and RPO have formed a unique collaboration and are working together to secure the remaining funding. Their shared vision is to strengthen Eastman Theatre's ranking among the finest music halls in the nation.
The Eastman School of Music unveiled in October 2004 an elegantly crafted new stage in the historic Eastman Theatre. The stage represents the completion of the first of a planned three-part renovation and expansion project. The most visible and dramatic improvement to date is a striking, custom shell designed to enhance acoustics and complement the aesthetics of the hall. Changes to the stage included dramatically improved lighting, all-new mechanics and hydraulics for the orchestra pit, state-of the-art rigging, and several backstage enhancements. These upgrades were the first step in bringing Eastman Theatre into the 21st century.