2nd Story Looks Low to Reach New Heights


A sketch of the Ground Floor space on a cocktail napkin.

2nd Story Theatre

It’s no secret that we here at Rhode Island Monthly are rooting for 2nd Story Theatre in Warren. And we’re not the only ones. Just like the big guys in and around the city — Trinity, Gamm, PPAC — 2nd Story fills seats every night, often sells out and regularly earns a standing ovation by curtain fall.

Rightfully so. From beloved classics like Little Women to smash-hit comedies like Lost in Yonkers (read Associate Editor Jamie Coelho’s review here), 2nd Story consistently delivers standout shows in a pomp-free atmosphere. So it should come as no surprise that the beloved little theater is growing. In a news release, Artistic Director Ed Shea announced the construction of the Ground Floor theater, a “downsized, downstairs space with an upsized, soaring soul.”

The Ground Floor will be situated on the first floor in what is currently the building’s kitchen, behind the downstairs bar and lounge. (We’re hoping construction won’t affect chocolate chip cookie production.) With just forty-nine seats, the Ground Floor theatrical experience should be even more intimate — is that possible? — than 2nd Story’s flagship space.

The original space will continue to function as the main theater, while the Ground Floor, Shea explains, will host “little gems of plays” and “small casts with big ideas.”

In the release, Shea says the Ground Floor was inspired by the scaled-down chapels housed inside Europe’s great cathedrals. “I find myself designing such an inner sanctum here at 2nd Story,” Shea says. “…A second space offering a more intense, essential encounter with the art. A chapel within a cathedral. A niche in the nave, so to speak.”

The Ground Floor is projected to open in June of 2013, but Shea and his multitasking team can’t lay the groundwork without some help. Tax-deductable donations may be sent to P.O. Box 294, Warren, Rhode Island, 02885. 

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