Downtown Schenectady, anchored by Proctors, has a new arts space. WAMC’s Southern Adirondack Bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports from the opening of a new center that is meant to foster the next generation of performers.
Proctors CEO Phillip Morris welcomed members of the press and public to a brand new 100-seat theater on Wednesday.
“This is the very first time we have a roomful of people in the new Addy, so thank you!”
The theater space is just one part of the new Adeline Graham Theatrical Training and Innovation Center located on the third floor of the building that houses the historic Proctors complex.
Schenectady Metroplex Development Authority chair Ray Gillen said the project completes the renovation work on the former Carl Company building on State Street.
“We’re really excited. We really struggled with this space,” said Gillen. “It’s one of the last big open floor plates ? of about 10,000 square feet anywhere in downtown so it was really important that we got it right and I really want thank Phillip and his team for getting it right.”
In addition to the theater, the space includes classrooms, multi-purpose space, a media center with computers, and a still-in-construction dance studio.
The goal is to open the doors to young people of all ages. Starting in January, instructors with the School of Performing Arts at Proctors will work with more than 200 students weekly across some 20 programs are planned. A middle-school based Acting Academy and a high school-focused TheatreTECH program will be hosted there.
The space is already being used by the Empire State Youth Orchestra’s CHIME program for kids.
Vice Chair of the Schenectady County legislature Karen Johnson, whose office is right below the Addy, said she is excited to hear the music coming from the floor above.
“This is the premier place for entertainment but now it will be the place for theatrical training and arts innovation,” said Johnson.
The $2.2 million project is part of a larger capital campaign and is being supported by grants from Metroplex, the Capital Region Economic Development Council, Schenectady County, the Wright Family Foundation, and Empire State Development.
The first production in the new space will be Miracle on 34th Street presented by Classic Theater Guild, Inc.
Morris said after this weekend’s performances, during the week of December 15th, the public is invited to view free films as the staff puts the finishing touches on the theater.
“For one week, free movies…you gotta pay for the popcorn though…as we figure out how to make this place a movie place after this weekend’s performance of Miracle on 34th Street,” said Morris.