Originally Published: September 21, 2018 9:36 p.m.
Prescott Center for the Arts is getting ready to kick off a $2.6 million capital campaign with plans including a new 99-seat theater.
Phase one already has started with renovations to the organization’s offices, said Executive Director Robyn Allen. Phase two is building the new theater, a theater-in-the-round with 99 retractable seats in part of the current parking lot. Phase three would include renovations inside and outside the main stage once the new theater is built, Allen said.
“The goal is when we get the building built and the 99-seat theater up and running, then we can begin the renovations on this, because we really can’t afford to go dark,” she said.
The new building is going to be more than just a theater, however, Allen said. It will have three floors including a lobby with a piano, a room for the box office, a will call outside, rehearsal space and storage for costumes and props. As for the main stage, renovating means doing brickwork and stabilization, replacing all the lighting, putting in a new sound system and air conditioning. Everything will be brought up to speed and be state-of-the-art, Allen added.
The dressing rooms in the main office also are going to be expanded, she said. The current show, “Guys and Dolls,” has a cast of 35, and there are only two dressing rooms for that many people, Allen said.
“We’re going to find more room in these offices down here to make it bigger,” Allen said. “When we have our kids shows, it’s just crazy.”
All the posters decorating the main office have been taken down, too. They are going to be scanned and put on a monitor on the lobby so everyone can see the PCA’s history, Allen said.
The space Stage Too is currently being rented, said Prescott Center for the Arts Past Board President Catherine Miller Hahn, adding that when it was started, the dream was for the organization to have its own stage where space didn’t have to be rented in an alley and something patrons could have easier access to.
“That started the dream of the capital campaign,” she said. “Then, of course, we got bigger and bigger and bigger just in general in our season, the size of the season, the number of volunteers we have. PCA will be 50 years old next year … we’ve outgrown ourselves.”
The first show on Stage Too was in 2013.
The renovations also will provide the ability to grow the youth program, Allen said. Right now, there’s no place to grow the program, and in the summertime everyone is literally on top of each other.
The changes have been studied for 20 years, and it is all about sustainability for the future, Allen said. Though Stage Too has a 50-seat house, once the cast and crew are added in, it can seat only about 35 due to the fire code.
“With only being able to sell 35 seats, it not only wasn’t sustainable, but it was just a sieve,” Allen said.
The organization has plans for raise the $2.6 million, she said. It means going to all of the philanthropists throughout Prescott and Arizona, investing a lot of the money Prescott Center for the Arts has, applying for grants and going to the patrons, volunteers and business partners, Allen said. Hahn added that every member of the board of directors has provided a contribution.
The hope is to break ground for the new theater in the spring; the project is estimated to be completed about a year from then, she said.
Though the new theater will take up some of the PCA’s parking spaces, Allen said she does not foresee any parking problems.
As with all of downtown, parking is shared, and many businesses around the theater close at 5 p.m. and aren’t open on weekends, she said. Services such as golf carts for senior citizens transporting them to and from their vehicles could be provided.
A kick-off party is scheduled on the main stage at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 25, with the public invited, Hahn said. Prescott Center for the Arts is located at 208 N. Marina St.
Prescott Center for the Arts will continue to present shows throughout the campaign. For information on the current season, visit pca-az.net.