Was the Amp ready for the 2017 season?

Yes, the Institution received a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy that covered all 2017 season programming in advance of June 24, our opening day. In fact, as is tradition, Jamestown High School held its commencement in the Amp on June 22.

How much will the project cost?

The total final project cost is expected to be $41.5 million, funded entirely through philanthropic support.

How many people can the new Amp accommodate?

The new Amp sas a seating capacity of approximately 4,400, all under cover of the roof. With standing room included, the total capacity of the new facility is estimated at 6,363. This is 20 percent more seating under the roof, and overall a 13 percent increase in total capacity over the previous facility.

How much bigger is the new Amp?

The wings of the roof extend 15 feet farther than the previous Amp to protect more seating from the elements. The height of the roof's peak and western gable remain the same. The back-of-house is a significantly larger structure, to accommodate greatly enhanced and expanded star and group dressing rooms, storage areas, and offices for our production crews.

What are the major noticeable enhancements?

The new Amp features an expanded stage, orchestra pit with mechanical lift, improved sightlines, more comfortable seating (see below), improved accessibility (see below) and more seating, all under the roof (see below).


What is the condition of the Massey Organ?

The Massey Organ and its chamber were completely preserved and incorporated into the new facility. We worked with the same consultants who have cared for the organ for decades to ensure it was ready for the 2017 season.


What is the new Amp’s hearing assistance system?

Click here for information on Assistive Listening Services.

How does the new Amp improve accessibility?

The new Amp offers enhanced physical access for people with mobility challenges, whether they are in wheelchairs, use walkers or canes, or simply have difficulty walking and climbing. The facility features 100 accessible seats with 100 companion seats; four wheelchair-accessible locations (one on each level); and code-compliant access entering and exiting the bowl, with increased aisle width, code-compliant steps, and bench-to-bench alignment and spacing. The Amp’s six main entrances (two at the floor level and four around the outside of the bowl) all remain unchanged and accessible. Accessibility to the stage and in the backstage areas is also greatly improved. Click below to view the accessible areas on both Amp levels.

Stage Level     Choir Loft Level

Why steps and not ramps on the sides of the bowl?

In order to use ramps, ADA standards would have required the Amp to have ramps with a much more gradual slope (1’:12’) than existed in the previous facility (1’:3’), plus a platform for every 30 inches of rise. The new Amp features ADA-compliant steps with a “two-step and platform-at-the-bench” configuration and handrails in the center of each aisle.


Where are the restrooms?

On the floor level, new ADA-compliant restrooms are part of the back-of-house facility, but both will be accessed from the south-side entrance (exit house right). The restrooms adjacent to the Smith Memorial Library remain unchanged.

Is there still a “back porch” for meet-and-greets?

Yes. The back porch is an important community space for shaking hands with chaplains, speakers and artists — we are pleased to welcome audiences to a much-improved space this summer. Access to these meet-and-greets is limited, as before.

Is there still an information gazebo?

Yes, for 2017 we are using the existing gazebo in a similar location. Plans are in the works for a new structure to be constructed next off-season.

What are the benches made of? Are they more comfortable?

The ergonomically improved benches — much better for sitting for long periods — are still be made of wood and painted the traditional Chautauqua cream. Installation of the permanent benches is occuring in phases. The permanent benches are being supplemented by temporary benches, including some of the former Amp benches, until all 7,000 linear feet of the new custom-crafted benches are completed and installed. 

Does Preferred seating work the same way?

The only change to seating in the Amp is the splitting of the Preferred section into Preferred 1 and Preferred 2 — this section will occupy approximately the same footprint of floor seating as in previous seasons. These changes are in response to increased audience demand for reserved seating at popular performances.

What is the ceiling made of? Is it still curved?

The new ceiling is made of a similar but longer-lasting V-board composite material, painted the traditional Chautauqua cream. Our design team made sure to retain its signature curve, and also reflected that curve in the design of the third-floor windows in the back-of-house building. 

Are the acoustics the same?

Based on our acousticians’ analysis, the new Amp features the same terrific acoustic quality, if not slightly improved.

How are sight lines improved?

The new Amp features half the number of large interior pillars, an increased rake for floor seating and an orchestra pit that keeps instruments from blocking views to the stage during dance and opera performances.


What does the landscaping look like?

Our own Gardens & Landscapes crew began work around the Amphitheater site this spring and is continuing this work through the summer. Plans include native plantings, rain gardens to collect and slow down stormwater runoff, and planting trees. Click here to view a draft landscape plan.

Will you be replacing Peters Bridge?

At this time, we do not have a plan to replace Peters Bridge. We plan to observe the flow of pedestrians and other traffic in the back-of-house area this summer in consultation with a wayfinding expert.