Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Strand Theatre works for revitalization

The Strand Theatre has been part of the Plattsburgh community since 1924. It first began as a vaudeville stage, a stage that featured entertainment such as burlesque comedy and song and dance.

Over the years the theater has served as the premier theater in downtown Plattsburgh. In May 2014, the North Country Cultural Center of the Arts merged with the Strand Theatre to form the Strand Center for the Arts.

In 2011, they launched a campaign to try and raise $2.2 million, which was the amount needed to complete the renovation.

Starting Oct. 6, the Strand Center began sending out surveys to collect information from Plattsburgh State students and the community in hopes to improve the provided classes and events.

“The Strand Theatre was a big place to entertain during the ’30s, ’40s, and ’50s,” Jessica Dulle, Executive Director of the Strand Center for the Arts, said.

Dulle said the theatre has a long history of serving entertainment to the community. The theater acted as a movie theater at one point in its history. She added that although it was a main source of entertainment, the theatre was closed for a stretch of time.

Part of the purpose of the survey was to make sure the theatre will continue to provide the community with events they will enjoy.

“One of the things we want to do is show classic movies like silent films, mob films, westerns,” Dulle said. The theatre wants to bring people back by showing the history of the building.

Another aspect Dulle wants to focus on for the revitalizing for the Strand Theatre is building the performance class program.

Dulle wants to make sure their audience selects the programs that best fit them. “We want to see what people want, whether it be theatre, kid dance classes or ballroom classes,” she said.

The theatre among many others things, has been the place for local musicians, actors and dancers to perform and showcase their talents. She also wants to get instructors to teach classes at the building.

Dulle said many organizations, choir groups and performers rent out the theatre from time to time.

“A lot of local performers call this (theatre) their home,” she said.

In addition to the renovations and survey, the theatre will be hosting an International Film Festival in November, a blues concert called, “Blues and Brews,” featuring the talents of several blues musicians and a fundraiser to benefit the Center of the Arts on Oct. 18 at 6 p.m.

Dulle hopes the feedback given from the survey, which ends Nov. 3, will help improve the center and get it back to its roots. Dulle is also open to using surveys in the future to better both the theatre and the center.

Email David Luces at david.luces@cardinalpointsonline.com.

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