Phew! I can finally come up for air after spending the better part of the last month and a half being a construction worker, upholsterer, light rigging specialist, and media relations guru. All this as part of the effort to get our new theatre up and running. In the two weeks leading up to opening night, it got scary. Too many things still left to be done, and we had to delay the opening of the theatre by a week. When all was said and done however, it all came together, just like Stephen Sondheim says it does, bit by bit, putting it together.
At the end of the day, we needed to push off the opening day by one week. There were simply too many thigns that still needed to completed in order to get a COO - a Certificate Of Occupancy - which is required from the city of Rochester in order to open to the public. fortunately, those who bought tickets to the original opening night date understood, and we added on an extra weekend of performances to compensate.
The result has been nothing short of spectacular, with most shows so far, save one, being sold out. We had a gala opening on sept. 26th, with prominent film critic Jack Garner acting as master of ceremonies and official ribbon cutter. Garner, a critic for the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, was also the chief movie critic for the Ganett News Service, of which the D&C is a part of. I only learned a few years ago that he is a big theatre goer as well, and was duly impressed with what we have created at Blackfriars. You can see the pics here:
But wait, there's more! (Construction, that is...)
Because of the time frame involved, the decision was made to forego completing construction on the second floor, which will house the dressing room and prop storage areas. it was not deemed vital to opening theatre, as there is a bacstage "quick change" dressing area that can serve as a dressing room temporarily while construction is completed. It also gives us some breathing room while we continue to campaign for more money to complete the project.
We've submitted prospectuses to several businesses in the area for naming rights to the actual performance area, to the tune of $700,000. This works out to $70,000 a year for 10 years - the duration of our lease - in order to not only complete construction but to initiate an endowment fund. This will help secure the theatre's financial future, but so far, we've had no takers.
Pretty disheartening for a theatre that is now it its 60th season. It seems as though the economy is still putting a damper on these things, but we keep prodding along.
Next entry: Max Cherry comes home, and I finally get to meet him. Stay tuned.
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