AMS Planning & Research Corp.
Client / Writers Theatre
Services / Strategy, Facility Planning

In 1992, Michael Halberstam and Marilyn Campbell founded Writers Theatre, using a newly opened bookstore in Glencoe, Illinois as its first performance space. This limited space gave way to a new aesthetic that has been a company hallmark ever since – intimacy. Since then, Writers Theatre has become one of the most prominent theatre companies in the Chicago area, producing in two venues: the original bookstore and the 108-seat theater at the Women’s Library Club in Glencoe.

Writers Theatre hired AMS Planning & Research in March 2008 to conduct a feasibility study for a new theatre space and again in September 2008 to evaluate two potential facility sites and to develop a transition plan for the organization.

AMS assisted Writers Theatre with assessing two possible scenarios: renovating the Highland Park movie theatre in downtown Highland Park, Illinois, and building a new facility on the site of its current home, the Women’s Library Club in Glencoe, Illinois.  At the end of the process, Writers Theatre decided to remain in Glencoe and build a new facility.

AMS then guided Writers Theatre in developing a transition plan from its current operations to expanded operations in a new facility. AMS led a workshop with Writers Theatre staff and board members to envision potential changes in operations, identify objectives to be accomplished and develop the necessary strategies and tactics to reach those objectives. Finally, AMS developed performance measures based on Writers Theatre’s goals and objectives and wrote a transition plan narrative.

In September 2010, Writers Theatre retained AMS to serve as owner’s counsel for the pre-design, schematic design and design development phases of the new facility project. This included facilitating the initial project evaluation phase between Writers Theatre and the theatre and cost consultants, assisting in the architect selection process, monitoring the project timeline and budget through the design phases and providing management counsel to Writers Theatre staff and board leadership, as needed, for the project.  The new facility is designed by Studio Gang Architects and contains a 250-seat theatre, a 99-seat theatre, a rehearsal hall/event space, lobby and production support areas. Its Grand Opening Gala was held in February, 2016.