Concert Friday to celebrate Shea Theater funding milestone

  • The Shea Theater on Avenue A in Turners Falls. Recorder file photo

Recorder Staff
Tuesday, December 26, 2017

TURNERS FALLS — The Shea Theater has completed “Light up the Shea,” the first phase of its capital funding campaign, and will celebrate its success Friday with a special concert by reunited New England band “Barefoot Truth.”

“Thanks to the support of the community, and business community, we were able to finish this first leg,” said Christopher “Monte” Belmonte, board president of the Shea Theater Arts Center. The first funding phase included the theater’s reopening last March.

“We wanted to make sure we had the theater and performance aspect in tip top shape. That’s why the phase is called ‘light up the Shea,’” Belmonte said.

Over the past year, the downtown theater in collaborating with the Turners Falls community has raised over $400,000 toward capital improvements. In that time, “we have hosted hundreds of events ranging from music, dance, comedy, immersive theater, full length plays, fashion shows,” a news statement about the achievement says.

Notably, Berkshire Brewing Company recently created and sold 500 cases of “Shea Theater’s Rebellion” benefiting the Turners Falls theater raising almost $10,000.

Recent improvements to the theater’s Avenue A building, which Belmonte noted is owned by the town, include a new sound system, speakers, and microphones. Currently, the theater is installing digital signs showcasing upcoming shows.

And looking ahead, Belmonte said “we’ve pretty much secured the funding we need to install a screen and projector.”

Other planned improvements include downstairs bathrooms, which are required by most union actors and actresses. Such upgrades, afforded through fundraising efforts, would allow the Shea to host larger productions.

“Going forward, we’d like the continued support of the community via membership. It’s $25 to become a member,” Belmonte said. Membership perks include a beer at the Shea, discounts at many local businesses, and knowledge that “you’re supporting the work we do there.”

Tickets to Friday’s event are on sale online for $25 (http://bit.ly/2C8vBIm), and cost $30 at the door. For more information contact Gary Bogoff or Jason Hunter of Berkshire Brewing Company at 413-665-6600; Belmonte at 413-559-1975; or the theater’s Managing Director Linda Tardiff, at director@sheatheater.org.