There’s nothing like moving up. For A Noise Within, this means a 33,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art home in Pasadena for its classic repertory theater. The former Stuart Pharmaceutical Company site, built in 1958 by architect Edward Durell Stone (known in particular for designing the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.), is listed on the National Register. ANW has retained the original façade while ripping away the rest, digging down one and a half stories to build a new 300-seat theater.
Rob Dean, resident actor these past dozen years, gave us the grand tour, happy to show off the amazing acoustics (even when the actor’s back is turned to the audience) from the C-shape stage, enhanced by precisely angled panels in the ceiling.
Another proud addition is the sizable fly space. Being a repertory company, ANW can rotate three plays at once, but it was hard to store all the scenery and backdrops in the original home in Glendale. Dean said that in the spring they will be putting up Antony and Cleopatra, which they couldn’t even contemplate performing previously. Everyone we spoke with is excited by the expanded possibilities this space offers.
The second floor houses a rehearsal room for the next upcoming play (a new concept for the company!), as well as proper dressing rooms, a costume room, prop room and Green Room. Space is also available for the administrative offices and to conduct the expansive children and student education programs.
The building has wonderful 1950s architectural points of interest, from the concrete façade to the repetitive pill-shaped imprints along the walls of both entrances. The other side of building was developed in 2006 into a reception area and common area surrounded by apartments. A worker who spoke with Jill Hill (another resident actor) told of afternoons swimming in the pool that Stuart Pharmaceutical had available for employees (though he was too young at the time to be one) and being offered an aspirin from one of many gumball machines!
ANW opens its doors to the general public with a free open house on Sunday, October 23rd. This will spotlight the classical works to be performed during the coming season, include a tour of the new facilities, and will have readings and presentations by the company’s resident artists, as well as interactive activities for children.
The opening-night gala will begin with a cocktail reception on the lawn—you can enjoy their expansive backdrop, a view of the San Gabriel mountains—followed by the season’s first production, an original treatment of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, Or What You Will. A post-performance dinner will cap off the evening.
Welcome Southern California’s only year-round classical repertory company in its new home—the Stuart Pharmaceutical building, which has been lovingly and gratefully restored and renovated—and plan to become a regular patron!
A Noise Within Repertory Company
3352 E. Foothill Blvd., East Pasadena
Open house Sunday, October 23, 1-4 p.m.; admission free
Inaugural opening night gala Saturday, October 29, 5 p.m.; tickets $300
Previews: October 22, 26, 27, 28 (tickets $34)
Tickets & information: anoisewithin.org or call 626.356.3100