HAMMONTON — The Eagle Theatre has purchased a 5,000-square-foot warehouse on West End Avenue that may eventually be used for a secondary performance space, President Jim Donio said.
Donio said the $150,000 purchase was funded with a bridge loan, and the group will be starting a major capital campaign and fundraising effort to cover the cost, Donio said. It had previously been a warehouse and offices for a medical equipment company.
The new space, called The Workshop, is one building off Route 54 next to the West End Grill. It is being used now for administrative offices and for set design and construction, said Co-Artistic Director Ed Corsi.
“It’s great to have a place for all of us to set up shop instead of being gypsies inside the (Vine Street) theater,” Corsi said. Until now, people have had to do office work sitting on the stage, in the lobby or in the back of the 10,000-square-foot theater, he said.
The Workshop is about two blocks from the railroad tracks, on the southern end of town, and just a few blocks from the main theater at 208 Vine St.
Corsi said the space will be perfect for performing new works for smaller audiences, with a seating capacity of 80 to 90 compared with the main theater’s 207.
“We absolutely plan for it to be a secondary performance space, probably in the next couple of years,” said Corsi, who shares the artistic director title with Ted Wioncek III.
The theater has joined the National Association of Musical Theater, and in October its staff will go to New York for a new works festival. Staff members may bring new works back to Hammonton to try out, and the space would be perfect for that kind of performance, Corsi said.
Since reopening in 2009, the Eagle Theatre has gone from renting out the stage to community theater troupes, to producing professional in-house productions. For more information, visit www.TheEagleTheatre.com or call the box office at 609-704-5012.
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