Ribbon cutting on Arts Council Extension (ACE) Building at 419 North Spruce
Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 17, 2019
WINSTON-SALEM — Two of Winston-Salem’s premier theater organizations will officially take up residence in Winston-Salem’s downtown Theater District on Jan. 24. North Carolina Black Repertory Company and Winston-Salem Little Theatre will have administrative offices and rehearsal spaces in the newly renovated Arts Council Extension (ACE) Building at 419 North Spruce Street.
An open house and ribbon cutting will be held 10 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 24. Principals from The Arts Council and the two theater companies will participate, along with county and city elected officials. The public is invited.
The property was acquired by The Arts Council with appropriations from The Forsyth County Board of Commissioners and has undergone extensive renovations. It is located only two blocks from The Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts, where a new 240-seat black-box theatre (created from conversion of the current Reynolds Place space), will serve as the primary performance venue for both theater groups when completed mid-summer.
Randy Eaddy, president and CEO of the Arts Council, called the move “transformational and historic,” noting that it is a major step in the creation of a vibrant downtown Theatre District. “Without a doubt, it is going to be much more convenient for Black Rep in organizing and coordinating the bi-annual National Black Theatre Festival,” Eaddy said.
Previously, Black Rep and Little Theatre were long-time tenants of The Arts Council Theatre on Coliseum Drive. Built in the 1950s, the dated, fixed-seat facility no longer served well the needs of most local theater groups. It also had become a financial liability and was sold last year.
“Black Rep and Little Theatre are long-time, valued partners of The Arts Council, and we promised to work closely with them on this transition,” Eaddy said. “Providing the space in the ACE Building means that each group has about 2,500 square feet for office and other administrative needs, including about 1,000 square feet of rehearsal space. It is right sized, we think.”
Christine Jones, senior vice president and CEO of The Arts Council, said that both Black Rep and Little Theatre have been resourceful in finding performance venues during the transition. “We at the Arts Council helped with securing the grand small theatre at SECCA and upfitting it. We also scheduled them in at Hanesbrands Theatre and Mountcastle Forum at The Milton Rhodes Center. Needless to say, we are all excited about the new performance venue for them when the conversion of Reynolds Place is completed,” Jones added.