Main Street’s iconic Mary G. Steiner Egyptian Theatre (328 Main St, 435.649.9371) is doubling down on its Old Town presence with soon-to-be-expanded digs. At the street level, the historic theater is, of course, hemmed in on both sides by other buildings. So, rather than adding on above, the Egyptian is going underground.
The new Egyptian Studios will transform 9,000 square feet of basement space beneath the Parkite Building, located directly across the street from the above-ground playhouse, into a 150-seat black box theater and large multi-classroom and event space. Designed with what Egyptian Theatre Company Manager Randy Barton describes as “a very New York underground kind of feel,” the new space will allow the Egyptian to host three or four events at once and create “a real performance arts complex in the historic district.”
The expansion marks something of a homecoming for Park City’s cornerstone theater company. For 25 years, the Egyptian’s former in-house theater company, Park City Performances, and YouTheatre, its kids’ drama program, were allowed to use the basement space that will become Egyptian Studios by Randy and Debbi Fields, owners of the building that previously stood where the Parkite resides today. The Fieldses even built a passageway under Main Street leading from their basement to the Egyptian Theatre. But when the Fieldses sold the building in 2012, the Egyptian’s continued use of the subterranean space was not part of the deal. So the theater company raised $1.5 million and purchased its old underground stomping grounds.
At press time, the funding goal for the Studios’ $4 million reno was more than halfway met, and Barton hopes the black box and event space will be ready for its curtain call by September 1. In addition to hosting more intimate performances—like cabaret and stand-up comedy—the Egyptian Studios will, and this time for good, become the long-awaited home for YouTheatre. “People who love theater will do theater anywhere they can,” says YouTheatre Director Jamie Wilcox, whose students have been shifted to temporary locations for the past six years. “That being said, we are very much looking forward to having our own, dedicated space.”