BIG CRT NEWS!
Senator James L. Seward Delivers Funding for CRT Downtown
$250,000 state grant will assist with major renovation project
Cortland, 8/13/2013 - State Senator James L. Seward (R/C/I-Oneonta) today announced that a recently adopted senate resolution includes, at his insistence, $250,000 to provide assist with the “Cortland Repertory Theatre Downtown” project.
Senator Seward attended the preview performance of CRT’s current production of the play “Shipwrecked! An Entertainment” and joined Producing Artistic Director Kerby Thompson on stage before the show to announce the grant to a packed house of Theatre Guild members and supporters. “Cortland Repertory Theatre has a storied tradition of providing the best in entertainment as well as serving as a community leader and economic driver,” said Senator Seward. “I am pleased to partner with the theatre as strides to increase its year-round programming in downtown Cortland move forward.”
The legislative grant secured by Senator Seward is being used to assist in major renovations at CRT’s downtown Cortland building located at 24 Port Watson Street, which will ready the building for year-round use. The grant is in addition to an $185,000 “Rural Area Revitalization Projects” grant that was previously rewarded. A successful capital campaign conducted by the theatre has also generated strong support.
“On behalf of Cortland Repertory Theatre and its ‘CRT Downtown’ capital campaign committee, we are so grateful and honored by the news of the funding obtained by Senator Seward.” Thompson said. “Sometimes it seems when our campaign committee is at wits end, a gift like this comes along and our energy for our campaign is renewed. As those in Senator Seward’s district know well, he has always supported so many local endeavors in the arts, education, recreation and economic development – this project envelops all of these worthy sectors.”
“Along with providing top-notch entertainment that helps expand our region’s growing tourism sector, Cortland Repertory Theatre works closely with area youth providing them an educational introduction into the world of theater and vital life skills. This type of activity is exactly what businesses and families consider when deciding on where to open shop or raise a family,” Seward concluded.
CRT CONTINUES CAPITAL CAMPAIGN FOR "CRT DOWNTOWN"
While Cortland Repertory Theatre opens their 42 annual summer season, the "little theatre that could" continues to rasie funds for their new winter performance location at "CRT Downtown". CRT purchased the former Recreation Bowling Alley at 24 Port Watson Street in Cortland in January of 2010 with the plans to convert it into a new performance space, offices, and construction shops for theatrical scenic and costuming elements. The quiet phase of the campaign, which has been in operation for the past two years, has generated over $3/4 million, where advance donors made over 150 gifts or pledges to this important initiative. A grant from the New York Main Street Program through the Cortland Downtown Partnership also has helped start the renovation. The total long-term need is $2 million to complete all aspects of refurbishing the facility. Grants and bequests will continue to be sought in addition to generous gifts from individuals.
Since CRT took ownership of the building, CRT Board, Guild members and volunteers have gutted the former bowling alley and offices, stripping the interior to the bare walls. Jeff Taw of the architectural firm of Holmes, King, Kallquist and Associates of Syracuse has been hired as the designer of the new facility and The Hayner Hoyt Corporation, also of Syracuse, has been hired as the construction firm. New York City interior designer Thom Lindsley, recently featured in the national magazine New York Spaces, has generously volunteered his services for the interior decoration of the lobby, rest rooms and theatre.
The renovation of the building is planned in three "ACTS": Act 1) the front offices and lobby, - which was completed int June of 2012; Act 2) a new roof, public rest rooms, upgraded sprinkler system and air heating/cooling system AND the "Grand Hall" performance space; and Act 3) completion of the side façade and the building of the scenic/costume and props shops, a small catering kitchen and storage space.
Producing Artistic Director Kerby Thompson singles out for praise the tireless campaign leadership provided by Campaign Chairs Dorothea Fowler and John Folmer, and Honorary Co-Chairs Jean & Dr. Bill Cadwallader. A campaign steering committee made up of community volunteers and CRT Board and Guild members continues to investigate new grant opportunities and potential donors. During all summer performances this year, a campaign brochure will be provided to theatre-goers, listing the Steering Committee members and outlining the many new programs and benefits this additional facility will provide to strengthen the dramatic arts in central NY.
“CRT Downtown” building is intended to complement, not replace the Little York Lake Pavilion where summer performance will continue to be held in future years. The new facility will allow for fall/winter/spring performances as well as workshops and classes for adults and youth in performance, public speaking, auditioning and the like. CRT also plans to offer the facility to the public for weddings, business meetings, proms, dances and other gatherings. The facility will also hold improved areas for set design, costuming, and other production aspects for CRT shows.
CRT administration sees this as an opportunity to create a partnership with other Cortland performing arts organizations including the Main Street Music Series, the Homer Center for the Arts and the SUNY Cortland Theatre Department. “Art breeds art,” Thompson said. “The cultural arts community in Cortland is thriving, and we think this is a great opportunity to not only bring more tourism and dollars into our economy but also introduce local residents to CRT to the other arts organizations.” CRT is celebrating its 42 anniversary season in 2013, making it the longest operating performance art organization in Cortland, and Thompson says that CRT has always welcomed the idea of more performing arts groups. “Our audience attendance has grown significantly in recent years and I think that’s because of the growth of the arts in our community. Art can not operate in a vacuum, and since CRT’s productions are so different from both the Main Street Music Series and the Homer Center, I think we complement each other very well. We see in other counties that numerous arts organizations actually help each other and bring more attention, more funding and more people to their productions.” Thompson also points out the growth in the high quality productions in the SUNY Cortland Theatre Department as proof that Cortland is becoming a cultural hub in Central New York.
“Now is the time that we need your help!” Thompson says. “Many people have stopped and asked me how progress is coming on the new downtown building. I usually say that things are progressing nicely, but could be better with their donation!” Thompson pointed out that naming opportunities are still available in the building for significant gifts, and detailed Capital Campaign packets are available at the Box Office.