The State Theatre was designed by prominent theatre architect Thomas W. Lamb and constructed in 1921. One of the most ornate theatres in the region, it was intended primarily to show movies, although these regularly shared the stage with vaudeville acts. Today, the State Theatre stands at the heart of New Brunswick’s theater district. The building has undergone at least five major renovations but retains much of its original historic detail. For the last several decades, the 1800-seat State Theatre has been known as a state-of-the-art venue for live performance and has been credited with serving as an important component of New Brunswick’s revitalization efforts.
Principals and staff of Mills + Schnoering Architects (M+Sa) developed a Master Plan for exterior and interior improvements in the early 1990s. Following its completion, new loading docks and a backstage addition that provided storage and upgrades to the dressing rooms were constructed, and the ticket office was completely renovated to provide better access and service to patrons. The historic house and front facade were fully restored to their original grandeur. M+Sa is currently working with the State on the development of a new Master Plan, exploring options for increasing patron comfort; improving barrier-free accessibility throughout; adding a new community room/performance space; expanding and enhancing backstage performer facilities; incorporating administrative offices within the footprint of the theatre; and improving technical capabilities.