Ridgefield Community Theater opens fundraising campaign to the public


RIDGEFIELD – In a final effort to improve its nearly century-old facility, the Ridgefield Theater Barn is asking the community for help to raise approximately $ 300,000 for its fundraising campaign.

The $ 1.3 million project includes an addition of 3,370 square feet and 1,500 square feet of renovations, said general manager Pamme Jones.

The construction will add new space to the building’s existing two-story frame and renovate a portion at the rear of the structure, allowing the organization to expand its programs.

The main level of the extension will include: a workshop for the construction of sets; backstage wing space; additional toilets; a new concession stand; and accessory and costume stores.

The lower level of the expansion will include: a black box theater for smaller performances; classrooms and offices dedicated to children’s programs; a multipurpose room; a heated kitchen; and changing rooms.

The existing building will be fitted with ADA-compliant entrances, toilets and transportation system to increase accessibility, and all security, fire extinguishing, plumbing, electrical and HVAC systems will be upgraded. Solar connectivity will also be installed.

“We are looking at March (2022) to put a shovel in the ground,” Jones said. “We are very happy to have reached 75% of the goal, but by going public, we hope to close this last $ 250,000 to $ 300,000 (portion).”

As the organization continues to correspond with its major donors, it recognizes its presence as a community theater. Jones said the upgrades would provide “huge opportunities” for alumni, families and the general public to become a larger part of the barn fabric.

Individual donors can receive recognition on the barn property for their contribution, she said. Staff members offer site tours to show visitors where any additions and renovations will take place.

Jones said she would be available to talk to clients about the project during show hours, and that future events will invite community members to “have a little fun and contribute at the same time,” he said. she declared.

The project is expected to increase ticket sales by 25% per season; additional revenue is also expected from future black box theater programming and venue rental opportunities.

While money from the city’s US bailout cannot be used for capital projects, First Selectman Rudy Marconi believes he could pay the barn back for the revenue it lost during the pandemic.

The city set up an informal task force to make decisions on how to use the funds based on guidelines from the US Treasury Department. As with normal budget procedures, spending should be approved through public hearings, town halls, or a natural referendum.

“We can and we must help the (nonprofits) who have perhaps suffered the most … it remains to be seen whether the committee agrees,” he said. “As we approach the New Year, we will begin this discussion.”

The most important aspect on Jones’ mind is the expansion of programming, which would provide attendees of all ages with a respite from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

“For me, 2021 has been worse than 2020 with the re-emergence (the virus) and all that has come with it,” she said. “It’s a place where adults can find rest or artistic expression, learn something new, and nurture that part of self-care. “

For more information on the barn’s fundraising campaign, visit ridgefieldtheaterbarn.org.

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