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State Theatre New Jersey

State Theatre Next Stage Details

The Details

State Theatre New Jersey’s Next Stage Campaign is focused on three fundamental initiatives:

All of the projects planned touch on one or more of these major principles.

Accessibility & Safety

State Theatre’s mission centers on access to first-class arts and arts education programs, yet our building is not fully accessible. Our first and most important priority in planning upgrades is to ensure accessibility throughout the theater. Additionally, the safety of our patrons, staff, and artists is paramount, and several projects will improve or replace current systems to modern standards and will provide a safe environment to enjoy world-class performing arts.

Balcony rendering

Rendering of balcony with accessible seating

Planned ImprovementS

  • Installation of an elevator offering full accessibility to all public areas of the building. The elevator will also accommodate a piano and equipment to allow for technical support to the new second-floor Studio space.
  • Addition of accessible seating and companion seating throughout the theater.
  • Modular theater seating in the main auditorium to allow for social distancing configurations.
  • Accessible restrooms throughout the theater.
  • Touchless Technology in all restrooms.
  • Protective barriers for concessions and guest services areas.
  • Sanitation stations at all entrances and throughout the facility.
  • New HVAC system for improved air filtration and quality.
  • New interior sprinkler system.

Audience & artist experience

The experience of a live event includes not only the performance on stage, but also the audience’s overall comfort and enjoyment from the moment they step through the front doors. As State Theatre New Jersey’s audience continues to grow, and the theatre continues to expand its outreach, it must address the expectations of today’s theater-going audiences by upgrading our lobby, bathrooms, and auditorium amenities.

The world-class artists presented at State Theatre New Jersey return time and again because of the professional environment they experience at our beautiful facility. While respecting the historic nature of our building, we must also ensure that our backstage areas are kept up to date to continue to attract the highest level of talent.

Audience Experience

Rendering of the Studio space


  • New seating throughout the main auditorium.
  • Redesigned first floor lobby spaces that will greatly improve crowd flow and access to amenities.
  • Fully renovated and expanded restrooms.
  • A renovated Studio space (opened in 2018) allowing for smaller and more intimate performances, talks, workshops, and community events.
  • Addition of a new restroom for the Studio space.
  • New HVAC system allowing for precise zone control to ensure comfort throughout the theater and improved air filtration.
  • Refurbished and modernized dressing rooms.
  • New carpeting throughout the lobby areas and auditorium, in keeping with the grandeur and history of the theater.
  • Blade sign that captures the magic of the historic original, enhances the theater’s visibility as an important historic landmark in Middlesex County, and brings a sense of excitement to the downtown streetscape.


Operationally, a theater is expensive to run, with building and stage systems that are critical to our ultimate purpose of live performance. Many of State Theatre’s systems are at the end of their useful lives at best and antiquated at worst. These systems must be updated to improve the operational efficiency of the productions and the overall efficiency of the building in time, labor, and energy, thereby reducing the operational costs and, ultimately, improving our ability to fulfill our important mission of presenting extraordinary live performances.

Audience Experience

Rendering of STAGE with motorized rigging system

Planned ImprovementS

  • Replacement of the manual rope and sandbag rigging system with a motorized stage rigging system to reduce show setup and breakdown time and expenses, and to potentially open days within the calendar for more programs. Read more about “hemp houses” like State Theatre »
  • Replacement of the HVAC system with a modern system appropriately sized for the space, with zonal control to be more energy efficient and to increase the air filtration throughout the facility.
  • Replacement of antiquated lightbulb marquee with a full-color, energy efficient LED marquee—completed in 2020.
  • Highly flexible state of the art LED theatrical lighting—completed in 2019.
  • A new state of the art sound board—completed in 2019.
  • A new backstage communications system—completed in 2019.


All architectural renderings courtesy of Mills + Schnoering Architects, LLC & Design Distill


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