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Featured Project - Bridge Street Theatre in Catskills

Bridge Street Theatre Renovation Project in Catskill

New York Main Street Program Supports Renovation of Bridge Street Theatre in Catskill

On November 1, 2013, Bridge Street Theatre, Inc. purchased a building at 44 W. Bridge Street in the Village of Catskill with the intention of converting it into an incubator for new, local artistic works. With no existing performing arts venues in the community, Bridge Street Theatre planned to provide a right-sized venue for community events and a first-time permanent home base for the small theatrical production company created by John Sowle and Steven Patterson over thirty years ago. Patterson had previously done theatre work in Greene County (with the now-legendary Lexington Conservatory Theatre) back in 1977. In 2004, the pair purchased a 10-acre property in the town of Catskill where they built a home into which they moved on a full-time basis in 2008. Since that time they have endeavored to be part of the ongoing revitalization of the Village of Catskill. Within a limited, rough space, Bridge Street Theatre was able to host over 22 events of various sorts – theatre, music, magic, visual arts, and more – in 2014 and 2015.

In the 2015 REDC Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) process, Bridge Street Theatre, Inc. was awarded $105,000 from HCR’s New York Main Street (NYMS) program. The funds were awarded to support the $140,000 project that involved remodeling of a large vacant central space into a Mainstage for the Theatre. As part of this project HVAC was updated and more than 10 tons of roofing materials were removed to allow for replacement of the building’s failing roof.

The renovation was completed during 2016 and the theatre now features an intimate 84-seat Mainstage auditorium, a partially sprung stage floor, control booth, dressing rooms, a kitchen, and an actor’s lounge or “Green Room.” The finished performing arts space is used primarily for performances curated by the in-house theatre company, but the theatre is also available to community groups and can be used to produce workshops and professional quality presentations by local artists and students.

Located at 44 W. Bridge Street in Catskill, The Bridge Street Theatre hopes to serve as a cultural anchor for the immediate area. Once a vibrant neighborhood, many families and businesses had vacated the area over the last ten years. Local officials and the business community are enthusiastic about the excitement that the opening of Bridge Street Theatre has brought to Catskill. New complementary businesses are opening, both along the West Bridge Street Corridor and on the Village’s Main Street, attracted in part by the vibrancy the presence of the theatre has created. These include a makers’ syndicate, two gallery spaces, a thriving barber shop, two successful eateries (New York Restaurant and 394 Main), a tea shop (Verdigris), and the imminent arrival of ADI/Lumberyard and Crossroads Brewing Company, all within walking distance of the theatre. Construction has also commenced on a walking loop and the renovation of a bridge across nearby Catskill Creek which will bring even more foot traffic to the area.

It is estimated that over 2,700 patrons attended Bridge Street Theatre events during 2016, with 85 artists performing. The Theatre’s secondary space, known as the Speakeasy, also regularly hosts live performances, community meetings and trainings, as well as serving at a lobby for its Mainstage. As its reputation has grown, the Theatre has been drawing audiences from the Albany and Berkshire regions (and beyond) in addition to locals. It now hosts an annual Theatre Subscription Season and a regular Cabaret Series in addition to presenting an eclectic mix of imported performers in both its performance spaces.

NYMS program funds are available to not-for-profits and municipalities annually as part of the Regional Economic Development Council’s Consolidated Funding Application process.