Portland Playhouse Renovation & Addition

The Portland Playhouse is a nonprofit that produces culturally-diverse, socially-relevant productions intended to engage the local community both on stage and through school classrooms. Housed in a repurposed historic church, the organization’s spatial configuration created programmatic challenges for the users and the space. SERA partnered with the Playhouse to help to identify the programmatic requirements, functional needs, aesthetic preferences, and growth strategies for the organization.

Take a 360° tour through our design: Interior | Exterior

The scope of this pro-bono project includes a significant renovation within the existing building, the addition of a 1,465-sf building on site, and providing design intent for the outdoor spaces. The overall goal of the project is to create a “neighborhood gem” that will benefit the King neighborhood and larger theater community.

In the Playhouse’s basement, SERA’s design will bring daylight and openness to the behind-the-curtain spaces, which includes new offices, dressing rooms, a green room, kitchen and communal area. On the first floor, the public-facing lobby will be refreshed and existing facilities will be converted to gender-neutral bathrooms. The team is also exploring options for a face lift of the west elevation at the public office entry at the basement.


A new, modern outbuilding will complement the historic church, and provide dedicated rehearsal and community space, along with a production shop for set construction. Here, the design team focuses on energy savings and occupant comfort, incorporating low tech and passive solutions such as skylights that bring in natural light and minimize utilities.

Working with landscape architects at Shapiro Didway, SERA is providing a design concept for the site’s 5,352-sf outdoor area. This includes native landscaping and a new ADA-accessible deck.