The Ground Floor

Berkeley Repertory Theatre

Funding Received: 2011
Berkeley, CA
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
October 24, 2011

The creation of The Ground Floor: Berkeley Rep’s Center for the Creation and Development of New Work  is not just about developing a new program. One of our greatest opportunities is an empty 14,700 sq. ft. warehouse attached to our administrative offices and shops, which we are developing into a new artistic center. This center will include rehearsal halls, studios, open space and possibly even guest accommodations for visiting artists. We hope that this dynamic artistic center will provide not only the necessary resources for our main stage season and The Ground Floor, but that it will also be a resource for the individual artists and art organizations in our community.

We are just entering the design phase for this space. As we create the list of possibilities that we could include in the design, we want to make sure that our local artist community has a voice. Last week we began the first round of small focus groups to give us input into the design process. For this first group we had representatives from Kala Arts Center, the West Berkeley Artisans and Industrial Companies, Theatre Bay Area, West Edge Opera, and Meyer Sound. After a thorough tour of our current office and shop spaces, we sat down to brainstorm what could be of use to the local artist community and our future collaborators. Here is part of the wish list that we developed:
• Small, sound proof rehearsal studios
• Accommodations for 10+ artists that could either be live/work studios or co-housing rooms with shared common space
• Sound studios that replicate different performance scenarios
• An open gathering space that could be used for artist gatherings or project presentations
• Larger spaces for other organizations to hold large meetings or rehearsals
• Display opportunities for paintings or sculptures
• A café! (wouldn’t that be great?)

This was such a great opportunity to hear what resources have been lacking in our own community and we have started to dream about what ways in which we can fulfill them. As we play with different design templates we now have many new ideas to play with. We look forward to continuing this discussion with more of our new neighbors in West Berkeley!