Stanford’s Frost Amphitheater renovation on pace

The university is upgrading the 82-year-old facility while preserving its iconic past.

In the summer of 2017, renovation construction began on Frost Amphitheater, a venue that holds a special place in the hearts of all those who were lucky enough to attend an event there since its opening in 1937. The goal of the project is to build a state-of-the-art stage and introduce other back-of-house amenities, as well as to create improved conditions for audience members while maintaining the quality, the essence and the sense of place that characterizes this treasured tree-lined bowl.

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Video by Kurt Hickman

Watch aerial views of the Frost Amphitheater renovation.

Eight-thousand-seat Frost, located at 365 Lasuen St. in Stanford’s arts district, will reopen in the summer of 2019 with a diverse lineup of concerts and events presented by Stanford Live.

The new amphitheater will be a crucial link in the arts district’s “performing arts corridor” that currently includes Bing Concert Hall, Bing Studio, Pigott Theater and Memorial Auditorium, each with its own set of distinct attributes and staging possibilities.

Chris Lorway, executive director of Stanford Live, has been experimenting with ways to activate the different performing arts spaces, including converting a rehearsal space in Bing Concert Hall into an intimate underground studio cabaret club; introducing new seating configurations around Bing’s main stage that accommodate a wider variety of artists while improving the audience experience; and carving out a performance space on the corner of Lasuen and Campus Drive, adjacent to Bing Concert Hall, for outdoor concerts and picnicking – a foretaste of what is in the store for next summer when the Frost renovation is completed. An outdoor amphitheater presents a host of performance possibilities.

“The best new artist amenity that comes with the renovation is the stage and back of house that will allow us to up our game in the types of artists and events we present at Frost,” said Lorway.

Maggie Burgett, the project manager for the Frost renovation, expands on the list of new amenities: “Frost will have performance and crew infrastructure including a new stage and canopy, green room, artist dressing rooms, bathroom facilities, at-grade loading and a full audiovisual system. Guest amenities include accessible paths and entry through a new tunnel, new and plentiful restrooms, VIP reception and seating.”

Lorway added: “Frost’s unique capacity lies in between other venues in the area and will therefore complement the overall South Bay music venue landscape.”