The relationship between the stage and the audience was returned to about what it was in 1858.
The floor was raised a little over 12 inches. Not only are there larger seats with improved leg room
on the Parquet (main) level, greater handicapped accessibility became available. The new cover for
the expanded orchestra pit also improves the relationship between audience and stage. Operated
by a hydraulic lift, the cover is raised and lowered
by the touch of a button. Composed of the same
material as the stage floor, it creates a seamless surface
when raised to stage level. Or it can be lowered to
bring a seated actor eye to eye with the audience. In
1990, the entrance to the theater was moved from
Princess to Chestnut Street, and the lobby, box office
and restroom facilities were expanded. The theater’s
decoration was also addressed. Led by celebrated
artist Claude Howell, this renovation restored much
of the Hall’s multi-colored glory.
The 2009-2010 work built upon that foundation.
John Sharkey and Chappy Valente, the lead artists,
spent months working to accentuate the ornamental
Above left: Thalian Hall Executive Director Tony Rivenbark surveys construction during the 2009-2010 renovation. Above right: Claude Howell
(1915-1997) and Tony Rivenbark (right) at a social function, circa 1980.
Thalian Hall as it appeared following the renovation and restoration, completed in 2010. New floors and new theatre seats were installed,
along with a complete repainting of the interior’s decorative stenciling. There were major upgrades to the sound and lighting equipment.
A new orchestra pit and lift was installed, and the chandelier now rises before each performance.
NEW HANOVER COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY