Theatour!: Clowes Memorial Hall

Antiquity isn’t the only way to a theater geek’s heart—for proof, check out Clowe’s Memorial Hall, just outside Indianapolis, IN. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie played this alternately solemn and warm space for one short day, and we all enjoyed getting to perform in one of our first postwar, non-school theaters.

Like the National Theatre in London, Clowes (rhymes with “stews”) has a brutalist, Ziggurat-y exterior (above) that belies a somewhat softer and more colorful interior (below). Red velvet and nice lighting always do the trick, don’t they?

Note the boxes—narrow, cascading riverbeds of concrete that roll towards the stage.

Also of interest is the austere proscenium which makes no latter-day approximation of gold leaf or cherubs. Concrete and hard edges are everything.

The staircases, visible in the atrium, are equally grave but cool.

The theater is about to celebrate its fiftieth anniversary, but thanks to good upkeep, doesn’t look it. Maintenance is ongoing: New carpeting and seats will be installed in the coming months.

The space isn’t devoid of funkiness. Sound panels on the ceiling are arranged in a depth pathwork whose appearance changes as you rise from one balcony to the next.

And then there are the actors, sure to funkify any room. Witness the lovely Adrienne Brown, primping in the recently renovated, spacious dressing rooms.

For more cool architecture in the style of Clowes, visit the awesome blog Fuck Yeah Brutalism for a sweet overdose. And for those more inclined toward the classic spaces, fear not: more old theaters are on the way.

UPDATE: ****** Clowes architect John Johansen died yesterday, at age 96. For more, click HERE.

TheatreWorksUSA, the producer of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, does not endorse the opinions of theater-words.
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