Historic theatre building with marquee sign that says Fulton. There are brick buildings on either side of the theater.

Fulton Theatre Expansion


Built in 1852 and reputed to be the oldest working theater in the U.S., the Fulton Theatre in downtown Lancaster has undergone an ambitious expansion and renovation.

The project enables the Fulton, a National Historic Landmark, to stage productions on a scale comparable to the most sophisticated theater producers in the nation. Because of the renovation and enlargement of the existing stage and rehearsal spaces, the Fulton team can produce multiple shows simultaneously. More backstage space allows the historic theater to use and store multiple sets as well as provide space for actors to more easily move on and off the stage.

The project featured two major phases of work:

  1. Renovating the existing multistory building and theater.
  2. New construction on the theater’s north side.

The phases covered 44,000 square feet and included working theater, studio, office, and audience facilities. The effort not only significantly enhanced the theater experience for the actors and the audience, but it also serves as the centerpiece of the surrounding block’s revitalization.

What We Did

The $19 million expansion project features:

  • New and renovated lobby space, including multiple restrooms.
  • Individual and group dressing rooms.
  • A public bar and lounge.
  • Expansive dance studio.
  • Private and open-air offices.
  • Ticket offices.
  • Multiple apartments for the actors.

As a key part of the effort, Gannett Fleming provided mechanical, plumbing, and electrical design for the expanded and new spaces. Our firm designed the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system for the expansion to provide backup redundancy and create zone heating and cooling that efficiently addresses varying temperatures in large audience areas. We also provided engineering design that addressed project modifications, including elevator relocation and the removal of a skylight.

Key Features

  • Renovated lobby and expanded restroom and public bar area with new HVAC systems improve comfort and convenience for audiences.
  • Expanded theater facilities allow the daytime rehearsal of one show and the evening performance of a different show, reducing downtime between productions.
  • Apartment units provide housing for actors and other show personnel.

Sustainability Features & Results

  • Provided energy recovery equipment for better temperature and humidity control.
  • A green roof assists in cooling of the roof for more HVAC efficiency.


  • Capability to stage shows on the same scale as off-Broadway productions.
  • Increased opportunity for community events and partnerships.
  • Spurred downtown economic growth and development.


Fulton Theatre Company


Lancaster, Pa.


Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing Design

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