Get ready to experience the arts at the newest theater in Montgomery County this fall
Montgomery County residents can easily hop in their cars or ride the Septa regional rail to a world-class live performance in Philadelphia. Starting this fall, however, they will gain a new option closer to home. In September, Montgomery County Community College will open a new start-of-the-art theater space on its campus that seeks to attract top-tier talent from around the region and beyond, and to serve as a community hub for students, faculty, and neighbors throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania.
“The college built the building where the theater is located in 1970, and we’ve transitioned the theater from a roughly 300-seat theater to a 500-seat theater,” said Celeste Schwartz, vice president of information technology and institutional effectiveness at MCCC. “For the first time, the theater also has three small balconies, which is a first for the college. In the past, the plan was only one floor.”
Schwartz highlighted the ways the theater has been renovated, both with an eye toward patron comfort and maximum efficiency for the artists and technicians who work there. “We have start-of-the-art audio, video, lighting, and rigging,” she said. “The design for all of that was done by an organization out of New York, Walters-Storyk Design Group, which is internationally recognized in this industry. We know that this will be one of the top venues in the region with what we are able to offer any of the acts that come in, whether it’s music, theater, or speakers. We believe the technical capabilities will entice national and international talent to our smaller venue.”
MCCC has already lined up a deep bench of talent for their inaugural weekend of events. The new programming will build upon what the college already offers, according to Brent Woods, senior director of arts and culture. “The college has a suite of programs that incorporate all aspects of the college campus,” Woods said. “These programs include the Lively Arts series, which is the main stage, where we feature the main artists. We have a Young Arts Explorer series, a family series targeted at schools for educational purposes. It’s an opportunity for families to come to the college in order to engage and bond.”
The opening celebration will feature the Philadelphia Boys Choir; the Elegance String Quartet, which features members from Philadelphia’s Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra; an evening of performances from employees of MCCC, highlighting their individual talents; and the electric violin quartet Femmes of Rock, which counts an MCCC faculty member among its artists.
“This is all about connection and all of the different things inside the theater that connect programming,” Woods said. “We view the theater as a gathering place and a site for connection with the community. And the opening is themed: it is arts and culture at MontCo, celebrating the past, the present, and the future. This comes from wanting to bring people together while also celebrating all of the different people who have helped who have helped grow it.”
Therol Dix, vice president of the college’s Pottstown campus and of educational partnerships, sees the theater’s new opening as an opportunity to reflect the community that it serves. “We want to make sure that we are reaching all ages and stages,” Dix said. “We want to speak to our students and our employees, but also to our wider community. To have a diverse programming schedule for the year is something truly unique, as well.”
Whether you come to the live arts for classical music, spoken-word poetry, or the latest trend in crossover culture, you’ll find something to excite you and expand your horizons very soon at MCCC!