Downtown Bethesda’s Round House Theatre will close for about six months starting in January 2019 for renovations, according to the theater.
The theater, located on East West Highway, announced its shows for the 2018-2019 season on Sunday and noted the closure that will occur from January to April. The final two shows of the season will be moved to the Lansburgh Theatre in Washington, D.C.
Ed Zakreski, the theater’s managing director, said Monday the renovation is one part of a larger project to make Round House a better experience for both its artists and its audiences.
“The whole project is just trying to advance Round House Theater as a leading American theater,” he said.
The full interior renovation will include upgrades such as new walls designed to improve acoustics, construction of a curved stage and new seating to improve sightlines and increased technical capabilities. There will also be a redesigned box office, expanded bar and a new multipurpose room for events and community use.
“We want to transform our lobby into a community hub where people can come for a bite to eat before the show or stick around after the show and have a drink and talk to the cast,” Zakreski said.
Round House Theatre has raised $5.6 million out of a goal of $14 million for its Full Circle capital campaign, which will pay for the renovations and also will fund ongoing projects at the theater including commissioning plays by women and people of color, offering free tickets to teens and college students and increasing wages for all artists at the theater.
The 2018 season will begin with Small Mouth Sounds from Aug. 29 to Sept. 23, How I Learned To Drive from Oct. 10 to Nov. 4 and Gem of the Ocean from Nov. 28 to Dec. 23. The final two shows—Oslo from April 24 to May 19 and A Doll’s House Part 2 from June 5 to 30—will be staged at the Lansburgh Theatre at 450 7th St NW.
“We’re hoping that our audiences in Montgomery County will come downtown with us,” Zakreski said, “but we’re also very excited about introducing Round House to people downtown and bringing them back to Bethesda when we start our new season.”
Round House expects to open again in the fall of 2019, in time for its 2019-2020 season.