SALT LAKE CITY - Hale Centre Theatre hosted a ground breaking ceremony Sept. 16, with live performances by past cast members and a 3-D video of what is to be a one-of-a-kind center stage for its new 130,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art theater to be built in Sandy City. Work is now in full force by Layton Construction, at 9900 Monroe Street, between the Sandy City offices and Interstate 15.
HCT revealed exciting details of its new world-class, professional family theater that will include an 850-seat theater-in-the-round featuring a center stage with engineering technology like no other in the world. It will be built by Tait Towers-Stage Technologies, the masterminds behind Katy Perry's "Prismatic World Tour," the Sochi 2014 Olympic Ceremonies, the Baku 2015 European Games Ceremonies, the MTV Music Awards and some of the most technically-advanced stages around the globe. The new theater, designed by Beecher Walker & Associates, will also offer a unique, 450-seat proscenium thrust stage for smaller productions. It is slated to open in January 2017 and the center stage will open in early summer of that year.
"HCT will become an incomparable theatrical engine, presenting more than 500 performances in 2017 between the two stages, and then growing to more than 700 performances in 2018," said Mark Dietlein, HCT president, CEO and co-founder. "HCT will also serve as a non-stop hub for theater education and will enhance opportunities for Utah talent to perform on a world-class stage, year-round.
"When we discovered we had outgrown our current theater, we were truly fortunate to find that Sandy City welcomed us with open arms," said Dietlein. "Since that time, they have worked tirelessly with us to get to the point of breaking ground. We're extremely grateful to them for including the new theater in their exciting plans for the future."
Mayor Dolan told how the new theater will be an integral part of a new 1,100-acre city center. The Cairns will boast 20 million square feet of development where Sandy City residents, tourists and visitors can stay, work, shop and play. "We're creating a first-rate urban experience that will be accessible to people who want to enjoy all that the nearby mountains have to offer by day and a vibrant nightlife too," said Dolan.
At the ground breaking, Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams congratulated Sandy City for its visionary work that will improve the lifestyle of County residents through uplifting entertainment and theater education for children and adults. He noted how HCT will also help bring locals and tourists to the new development and provide jobs for talented artisans.
According to Sally Dietlein, HCT vice president, executive producer and artistic director, HCT already attracts ticket sales from 44 of 50 US states with season ticket holders from surrounding and outlying states. "We expect the new theater, particularly with its cutting-edge center stage, will bring nearly 500,000 patrons a year to Sandy City to experience the magic of HCT's professional family theater," added Dietlein.
Sandy City has marketed a $42.7-million bond to finance the project, which Hale Centre Theatre will pay back in full over time. The actual cost to build the new theater is $65 million, an additional $22.3 million over the bond financing. HCT's Chairman Rob Brough kicked off a public fundraising campaign at the ground breaking, with a plea to its patrons and friends of the arts to make their own investment to help continue HCT's 30-year legacy of live theater productions and theater school for youth and adults.
According to Brough during the initial private phases of the capital campaign the non-profit, professional non-equity theater has raised $15.7 million to date in cash and pledges. "HCT has received donations from many generous entities. Those that have contributed one million dollars or more include: Sorenson Legacy Foundation, Larry H and Gail Miller Family Foundation, Kem and Carolyn Gardner, David and Julie Layton, Mountain America Credit Union, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Hale Centre Theatre. There are many wonderful naming opportunities still available that we look forward to fulfilling," added Brough.
"We're extremely grateful to all the individuals and organizations who have stepped forward with donations to help Hale Centre Theatre grow and bring innovative, professional family theater to more members of our community," said Sally Dietlein. "And, we invite those who share those values to help take us across the finish line."
The original Hale Centre Theatre was founded in Utah in 1985 by Nathan and Ruth Hale, daughter Sally Hale Rice, grandson Mark Dietlein and his wife Sally. HCT has been operating at nearly full capacity since 2004 with 270,000 patrons attending more than 400 performances a year.
Hale Centre Theatre, a professional, non-equity family theater currently employs more than 30 full-time people, nearly 75 part-time employees and contracts approximately 300 performers and artisans annually. HCT operators anticipate hiring seven to ten full-time and 25 part-time employees to support the new larger theater. The increased number of productions on the two stages will also create a need for 200 additional performers and artisans each year. Season ticket sales for the new theater will begin in spring 2016, and HCT will continue to operate in West Valley through 2016.
Those wishing to contribute may call the HCT development office at 801.415.2340 or visit www.hct.org.
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