How exactly will the funds be used?
The funds will be used for the restoration and renovation of the Portland Playhouse building, including a complete build out of the lower level, restoration of the upper level and exterior, new restrooms and the new construction of a studio/community gathering space and production shop in the side lot. In addition, we will hold some money in a fund as a maintenance reserve, as well as some working capital.
How did you establish the capital priorities and their costs?
We solicited feedback from a broad base of community stakeholders including neighbors, actors, designers, community partners, as well as our Board, staff and volunteer core. Cost estimations came from Colas Construction – our general contractor.
How will this campaign support your artistic vision?
Creating a beautiful, professional and safe theatre space will enable artists to bring their best work to the table. A great space can encourage truth, openness, inspiration and allow for risk-taking and vulnerability. Expanded studio and rehearsal space will allow our education program to expand to serve more students in our community over time. This project will allow us to continue attracting great artistic talent and support them with the dignity that they deserve.
How will this change the experience for audiences and artists?
Audiences have long been inspired by the artistic work of Portland Playhouse, but they have endured a poorly maintained building with insufficient restrooms, lobby space and conditions. The restoration of this historic building will inspire our audience and artists alike with pride and caring for our space in the community.
Why is it important to make these improvements now?
We have kept this space functioning with Band-Aids on top of Band-Aids. It is not tenable to continue this way. Portland Playhouse has started to attract national attention with awards and funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the American Theatre Wing and the National Endowment for the Arts. And after a six month planning process led by Arts Consulting Group, the Playhouse Board adopted a new strategic plan to guide our vision into the future. A building renovation is a key component to this plan and central to setting us up for success for the next 30 years.
Are you sure this building and location will serve you for the long term?
The King neighborhood and our historic yet quirky, 110+ year-old church setting is central to our mission, vision and values. This building and our location is home to and hub for our extensive education and outreach work with schools like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. School, St. Andrews Nativity School and Boise-Elliot. Our artists and audience alike praise the intimacy of the beautiful crafted wood frame church. The power of our work lives in this building and the unique character of this neighborhood is a core part of our identity. We are committed here for the long haul.
Are you sure it's a good idea to invest this much in a building you don't own?
We chose to structure the capital campaign as a leasehold improvement plan in order to maximize the impact of community dollars. Two years ago this property was purchased by a group of our most loyal supporters. They offered PPH a 30-year lease, at $2,000/month (roughly 1/3 of market rate rent) with option to purchase at anytime at the original purchase price. This lease is recorded on public record and guarantees both the rent control and the purchase option for 30 years.