Chautauqua Institution has rarely seen as ambitious and momentous a project in its 144-year history as the off-season rebuild of its central gathering and programming space, the Amphitheater. Despite occasional setbacks through a nine-month process of major construction, the space was largely ready to host programs and audiences for its inaugural season in 2017. The reviews were almost universally positive. The new facility keeps and enhances what made its predecessor so beloved (among them the open-air and free-flowing atmosphere, the Massey Memorial Organ, and the cream color scheme that serves as a neutral backdrop for Chautauqua’s vivid and varied palette of programming) and introduces a number of necessary improvements (among them better accessibility, the orchestra pit and larger stage, and more seating with better sight lines) that will serve patrons and programs well for decades.
Since opening night on June 24, the venue has been in nearly 24/7 operation. When the lights fade Sunday night following President Michael E. Hill’s tap-tap-tap of the gavel, the Amp will enter a period of rest, with a few finishing touches still awaiting it over the off-season. It will be a deserved slumber.
Included in this photo spread are a selection of Daily photos from the Amp in its first season of service as Chautauqua’s primary house of worship, lecture hall, performance venue and community gathering space.