Chautauqua Institution

Amphitheater Project

Since its construction in 1893, Chautauqua Institution’s Amphitheater has played a central role in both fulfilling Chautauqua’s mission and building community.

Acknowledging that the current structure has many challenges due to age, size, configuration and the demands of presenting a 21st-century program, Chautauqua Institution convened a group of experts and engaged Chautauquans to explore these challenges; examine the critical issues central to its rehabilitation, restoration and/or reconstruction; and to set a framework for the design process.

As part of the Amphitheater Study Group’s work, public information sessions were held throughout the 2011 Season to explain the group’s work and to solicit feedback through the use of a written survey.

Study Group Report

The Chautauqua Institution Amphitheater Study prepared by the Amphitheater Study Group was delivered to the Board of Trustees on Nov. 5, 2011 and was reviewed in detail at the trustees’ retreat in February 2012.

A model of the proposed Amp design is on display in the Smith Memorial Library and is available for public review during regular library hours.

A questions/comments form is available in the library. Questions may also be sent to

Originally printed in Pillars, Fall 2013
Several commitments, including the largest single gift ever received by Chautauqua Institution, have been made by three longtime Chautauquans toward the rehabilitation of Chautauqua’s historic Amphitheater. To date, approximately $13 million has been committed to what President Tom Becker describes as “the most important facility in the life of this community.” 

Amphitheater Study Group Contact

Any questions regarding the work of the Amphitheater Study Group may be directed to John Shedd, Architecture and Land Use Regulations Administrator and Capital Projects Manager, at (716) 357-6246 or



The Chautauqua Institution Strategic Plan (2010-2018), as adopted by the Board of Trustees, identifies the
goal of rehabilitating facilities
that are critical to program presentation, including
the Amphitheater.


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Jordan Steves
Director of Communications