The Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts held its annual meeting Monday night.
It has been seven and half years since the Hanover opened it doors. In that time it has brought in nearly 1.4 million visitors. More importantly, it has firmly established itself as a premier performing arts center and has become a fixture in the cultural fabric of Central Massachusetts.
Not content to rest on laurels, the Hanover and President and Chief Executive Officer Troy Siebels have set an ambitious agenda for 2016 and beyond.
First up is the completion of the redevelopment of 551 Main St. The 22,000-square-foot building will house a ground-floor restaurant, administrative space and an arts education center for rehearsals, a theater lab and practice rooms. It is scheduled to open early next year.
The 551 Main St. project symbolizes all four pillars of the theater’s strategic plan: Downtown, Engagement, Sustainability and Inclusiveness.
The restaurant and education space will help downtown become an 18-hour-a-day destination.
The arts education center, which it was announced on Monday will be named for long-time benefactor and member of the board of directors Mary C. DeFeudis, will expand opportunities for children of all ages to be exposed through the arts.
The new building will help build diversified revenue streams that will help ensure the theater remain financially sustainable.
Finally, it promises to help expand its community outreach in the hopes it engages a more diverse audience.
With the completion of the 551 Main St. project just months away, it’s important to note that there is still work to be done. Nearly $1.5 million is needed to complete the project and two of the theater’s goals are to increase the amount of philanthropic income with the ultimate goal of establishing and building an endowment.
Those are long-range, worthy goals.
The difference cultural institutions and the people who run them make in the life of a city often gets overlooked. Monday night’s event was an opportunity to reflect on the importance the theater has in the community.
The people of Central Massachusetts have good reason to be proud of the Hanover even as it continues to look forward.