At the forefront of creative economy discussions hosted by Fitchburg State University, plans for second act of theater block


Federal, state and local elected officials and business leaders recently toured the future home of Fitchburg State University’s Center for the Performing Arts on Main Street. This tour was organized by the university to celebrate the project’s impact on the local and regional economy and cultural vitality. (Courtesy State of Fitchburg)

Fitchburg — Recently, Fitchburg State University welcomed dozens of federal, state and local leaders for discussion and tour of its proposed innovative performing arts center in the heart of Main Street. bottom.

Fitchburg President Richard Lapidus told the assembled guests, which included representatives from more than 15 legislative districts, in addition to congressional officials and other state and local culture and businesses, that “public universities host them They have an important role to play in the community,” said the leader.

Lapidus has continued to move the project forward with speakers including Senator John Cronin, Rep. Michael Kushmereek, Fitchburg Mayor Steven DiNatale, and North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce Chairman Roy Nascimento. We described the collaborative process. Funds that complement the University’s own investments in the main plots.

Fitchburg State University purchased the long-closed Main Street Theater in 2016 and embarked on a major project to build a performing arts center in its place. The first phase of this project has already been completed and includes a state-of-the-art game design studio for students of the Capstone Game Design Program and ideaLab, a university/community creativity and entrepreneurship space. increase.

As informed by the assembled leaders, the next phase of the project will be the construction of a new “black box” theater adjacent to the main building, designed to accommodate a variety of events and programs with a capacity of 250 people. . It serves as an educational facility for the university’s performing arts and humanities students, as well as for communities and outside groups. Also known as “theaterLab,” this black box theater will become a point of collaboration for students, educators and the general public, ensuring access to quality arts and humanities programming for a new and diverse public audience. The purpose is that.

The final stage of the project is the renovation of the historic theater itself. First opened in 1929 as a vaudeville theater, his 46,250-square-foot building will be a state-of-the-art venue with up to 1,200 seats.

The reception and tour were designed to showcase the broad economic and cultural impact the performing arts center has on the city and region. , described it as part of a more than $250 million public and private development that includes residential, commercial and civic components. Theater projects alone are expected to generate millions of dollars annually in ongoing economic activity, beyond initial investment and employment from construction itself.

Massachusetts House of Representatives Deputy Speaker Kate Hogan said, “We’ve seen other towns in the region strengthen their communities and economies by investing in the arts. We’ve seen this initiative in Fitchburg. “As a result of thoughtful and deliberate planning, coupled with partnerships and collaborations at all levels of business, government and universities, the performances, events and programming offered at the new theater will extend beyond campus.” It is expected to reach audiences and have a positive impact on visitors, residents, and the local workforce.”

“We look forward to a future where downtown Fitchburg is a place for people in and outside Massachusetts to enjoy live entertainment and theater with city residents.” “Rebuilding Main Street began with a vision to restructure and rebrand using arts and culture, but what stands out to me is that of state and local leaders, the business community, the arts, and the arts. It’s a great collaboration between communities, universities, and private companies.Citizens to make it happen.This is a model that will be replicated statewide.I can’t wait until the ribbon cuts.”

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