Musical Theater Festival Agreement Moves Forward
More plans are falling into place for the use of a performing arts center project in downtown Auburn. According to an announcement released by Cayuga Community College, the college and organizers of an annual musical theater festival have reached a 25-year agreement to share the 384-seat theater on State Street.
Under the agreement, the school will use the facility from September through the middle of May for acting and technical courses. The building will then become one of the multiple festival venues during the summer.
However, CCC will still have a presence during the festival season, as the festival will offer internships for students in areas like performance, design, lighting, management, marketing and other operations.
“This community partnership will help attract (theater) students through expanded learning and production opportunities, while our entire region becomes a cultural destination for high-quality shows ranging from experimental to classic,” college president Daniel Larson said in a written statement.
Earlier, the Cayuga County Legislature approved a resolution authorizing the purchase of the State Street building that formerly housed Kalet’s department store. The property currently belongs to the city of Auburn, and the city plans to demolish the building in the spring before transferring the property to the county. That transfer must take place for the college to build the theater.
Half of the $4.8 million project will be funded by the state, with the remaining funds coming from the festival organizers and investors. The City agreed to pay for the demolition, with local foundations paying back half those costs.
The festival is expected to begin spring 2012, though the theater will not host a festival show until the second season, organizers have said. CCC officials said that construction is expected to take approximately a year once demolition is completed, depending on weather, with a goal of opening the facility for the fall 2012 semester.
The theater is expected to be one of four venues for the festival, which organizers say will offer multiple musical theater productions every year. The other venues include the 500-seat Merry-Go-Round Playhouse at Emerson Park, the 200-seat Auburn Public Theater on Genesee Street and the 115-seat carriage house theater located at the Cayuga Museum.
—Staff writer Christopher Caskey, The Citizen