Raise funds to establish a theater in downtown Cortland, NY. Project will have significant impact on the economy and youth of the community.

“Curtain Up! Light the Lights!” Help bring our community to a “New Stage”!

Since 1972, Cortland Repertory Theatre has been one of New York State's longest running professional summer theaters. Thanks to growth in our mainstage season and youth programs, we are expanding our offerings to a new year-round venue, called “CRT Downtown”! In this new cultural arts center, we will offer live theatrical productions in the fall, winter and spring, and expand our youth offerings to include after-school and weekend classes and workshops.

Once operating, this cultural arts facility will have a significant economic impact on a struggling community. A recent economic impact study conducted by CRT showed that our theatre injects $1.7 million annually in our local community, just operating fully for 3 months out of the year. By hiring year round office staff, actors and technicians, the theater will increase the number of people working in and visiting Cortland. Audience members will be drawn to downtown Cortland, visiting local restaurants, pubs and shops before and after shows. Also, the theatre will purchase more materials locally to construct our sets, props and costumes.

For youth, as funding for the arts in our local schools continue to be cut, “CRT Downtown” will fill the gap with classes and performances by and for youth of all ages. Students will not only perform in their own shows, but will learn backstage skills (set construction, costume design, scenic painting and more) as well as interact with the professional actors and designers. Valuable life skills such as teamwork, cooperation, creativity and public speaking are taught through theatre, and CRT will be able to offer these opportunities to students in schools which do not have theatre programs.

About CRT: Since 1972, Cortland Repertory Theatre has made our summer home at the beautiful, national historic Little York Pavilion in Preble, NY about halfway between Syracuse and Ithaca. From our humble beginnings of 5 productions over 8 weeks, this "little gem of a theater" has grown to offer 6 mainstage productions and one children’s show over 14 weeks, and has seen our audience numbers grow to over 17,500 people each summer. Additionally, CRT provides two extremely popular summer theatrical camps for youth: "Showstoppers and Superstars" for children in K - 5th grade and "Stars of Tomorrow" for students in grades 5 through 12. These camps teach acting, improv, musical theatre, movement and design. We also host the "Pavilion Awards" - a Tony Awards type program, which recognizes outstanding achievement in local high school theatre.

With growing audience attendance and expansion of our youth programs, the need for a year-round operation has been apparent for several years. Because the Pavilion is strictly a summer building (it is unable to be insulated or heated for winter months), we conducted an extensive search for a facility in which to expand. To that end, in 2010 CRT purchased a 16,000 square foot former bowling alley, a half-block from Main Street in downtown Cortland. With all volunteer help, the building was totally gutted and is slowly being converted into an operating theatre.

The “CRT Downtown” project is comprised of three phases: 1) the now-completed box office and administrative offices; 2) new scenic/costume shops, roof and exterior façade; and 3) the "Grand Hall Theatre", a “black box” flexible performance space for shows and workshops, able to accommodate up 250 people.

Won’t you help us “raise our curtain” and “light our lights” by helping to provide this valuable asset to our community, our families and our youth? Your generous contribution will be gratefully acknowledged with appropriate recognition at various levels. Naming opportunities are also available for more significant donations.

For more information about the project and naming opportunities, please visit our website at www.cortlandrep.org or contact: Cortland Repertory Theatre, PO Box 783, Cortland, NY 13045 or call 607-753-6161.

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