Architect Pendragon refines the design of a new theater | News, Sports, Jobs



The Pendragon Theater stage can be viewed in its current location at 15 Brandy Brook Ave. at Saranac Lake. An engineer report revealed that it would be possible for the theater to move to a building in the city center. (Business photo – Aaron Cerbone)

SARANAC LAKE – An engineer report has revealed that it would be possible for the Pendragon Theater to move to a building in the city center.

Now, Pendragon’s board of directors is working with an architectural firm on the design of a 150- to 175-seat theater project in the Tousley storage building, also known as the transfer and storage building of Madden, at 47-49 Main Street.

“It’s sort of the most exciting thing we’re working on right now”, Board chair Holly Wolff said Tuesday. “We realized that we needed to recruit people with very good theatrical experience and creativity to use this facility in the best way. “

For almost a year, the Pendragon Theater has been considering moving from its current site, a former dairy barn off Brandy Brook Avenue. Supporters of the move say the Tousley Building, one of several sites the board is considering, would provide more space for patrons and actors, allow the theater to increase its programming year-round and continue efforts to revitalize downtown Saranac Lake.

“The soul of the theater is what there is on stage” Wolff said. “What we’re trying to do is put a frame around that which is the quality of what’s on stage.”

Pendragon Theater (Corporate photo – Aaron Cerbone)

Earlier this year, North Woods Engineering completed a feasibility study for the Tousley Building, funded by a $ 20,000 grant from New York Main Street. He found, “The building is in very good condition for its age and it would be very viable as a theater”, Wolff said.

An environmental assessment report on the building – which would examine things like asbestos, underground oil storage or lead-based paint – is due next week, Wolff said.

In June, Pendragon’s board of directors hired JMZ Architects of Glens Falls to design a space. The company is one of five different companies that were considered, Wolff explained.

“One of the reasons we chose them is that they have a lot of theater experience, the Charles Wood Theater (in Glens Falls) for example”, she said. “It’s different from who we are, but the process they went through is a lot like the process we’re going through in terms of renovating a downtown structure. “

JMZ’s proposal says that the Pendragon project “Will be an adaptive reuse project focused on creating a state-of-the-art theater hall with a design that celebrates the historic features of the building and the theater. “

Current location of the Pendragon Theater at 15 Brandy Brook Ave. (Business photo – Aaron Cerbone)

“They have the essence of what we’re trying to do,” Wolff said.

JMZ is currently working to refine the design of the building so that it can be included, along with a business plan, in a state grant application that Pendragon is in the process of filing. The application must be submitted to the North Country Regional Economic Development Council by July 28.

Wolff said she did not yet have a cost estimate for the project. A preliminary proposal estimated it at $ 5 million.

If the state grant is given or if the project receives enough money from private sources to go ahead, then there will be a more extensive process to get input from more stakeholders, Wolff said.

“What we have now is what I would call a draft”, she said. “People closely related to the theater have reviewed it, as well as our board and staff, but it has not been reviewed more broadly with others who may bring new ideas, but we have at minus a framework to start with. . “

Wolff noted that work on the new theater occurred amid Pendragon’s continued success on stage. He has just completed a series of production “Disgraced,” about a dinner that brings together people from different backgrounds, which Wolff said included lively post-play discussion sessions with the audience. The adventure musical “James and the giant peach,” featuring a group of local child actors, launched last weekend, and an outdoor production of Shakespeare ” A Midsummer Night’s dream “ is scheduled to debut Friday at the Dewey Mountain Recreation Center.

Wolff said Pendragon also brought in a three-person tech team from Dickinson College – a technical director, a production and lighting director, and a set and props director – who gave the theater a facelift that included new paint and an elevated stage. with a proscenium frame.

“It really is a step forward” Wolff said. “The work they have done is phenomenal and should allay anyone’s concerns that we do not invest in our current theater.”

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