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Harrisburg Shakespeare Company

Pennsylvania Theater Group Buys Old Church

Harrisburg Shakespeare Company logoAfter 20 years of entertaining central Pennsylvania, Gamut Theatre Group, the combined theater company of Popcorn Hat Players Children's Theatre and Harrisburg Shakespeare Company, is working toward creating a permanent theater space for the company.

Last fall the company purchased the former First Church of God at 15 North 4th St. in Harrisburg. Plans for the new theater space include a renovation of the 12,000-square-foot church building to create main stage and children's theaters, classrooms, offices, a reception lobby, a scene shop, costume shop, dressing rooms, storage, and more. Renovation will also include facilities improvements such as installation of an air conditioning system, Americans with Disabilities Act–compliant entrances, and upgrades to electrical and plumbing systems.

“It's a beautiful building,” Clark Nicholson, Gamut's artistic director, said in a company statement, “and although there will be some cosmetic changes, we are very excited that we will be preserving much of the original architecture, including the lovely stained glass windows. There is a feeling of history here, a love and respect for those things that have come before, that lends itself nicely to the telling of classic stories.”

Purchase of the building, located directly across the street from Strawberry Square, which has been Gamut Theatre Group's home for 20 years, was facilitated by the theater's former landlord, South Third Development Corporation, an affiliate of Harristown. “We have been working cooperatively with Gamut to help them acquire and renovate their new property into a long-term theater asset,” said Brad Jones in the Gamut statement; he is vice president of community development for Harristown Enterprises Inc. “We are very supportive of this new project and are pleased that Gamut has chosen to remain part of the downtown community.”

Gamut has kicked off a fundraising campaign to raise the $1.6 million needed to complete the property's renovations, which are projected to be completed by fall 2014. For more information about the project or how to donate to Gamut Theatre Group, contact Melissa Nicholson, executive director, at 717-238-4111.

June 20, 2014

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