BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — A $4.1 million renovation of central Brooklyn’s Billie Holiday Theatre is set to be completed this spring, according to city officials.
The multimillion-dollar project will reconstruct and expand the 45-year-old space, bringing new seating, dressing rooms and air conditioning units, among other upgrades.
Construction kicked off in summer 2015, officials said. It is the first revamp of the space inside Restoration Plaza at 1368 Fulton St. since its inception in 1972.
Improvements include new lighting, boilers, audio and visual equipment in a brand-new control room, and an extension of the stage for additional performance space, according to the city’s Department of Design and Construction.
During renovation, performances have moved to the Brooklyn Music School & Playhouse Theatre and the Kumble Theater in downtown Brooklyn, said Dr. Indira Etwaroo, Restoration’s executive director for the Center for Arts & Culture.
Showcases have also been held at the Skylight Gallery on Fulton Street and outdoors at Restoration Plaza.
“[The construction] allowed us and encouraged us to break outside of this mold of presenting on the stage and coming to our audience in new and unique ways. It expanded our own footprint,” Etwaroo said, adding that it has enabled the theater company to reach a more diverse viewership.
The Billie Holiday Theatre’s stage has hosted notable entertainers such as Smokey Robinson and Samuel L. Jackson, officials said.
Changes to the space’s infrastructure is mostly completed, according to the executive director, and the number of seats have increased from 188 to 200.
“The renovation of this historic destination, a destination formerly led by theater pioneer Marjorie Moon for 42 years, gives us a new opportunity to build on that legacy and also present dance and music concerts, large talks and film screenings right here in the epicenter of black culture in the U.S,” Etwaroo said.