Thursday, March 20, 2014

President's Page: The Orpheum Centre Breaks Ground

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 is a date I will never forget.  When I look back at my 34 years of being with the Orpheum it's easy to recall certain milestones: the grand re-opening of the Orpheum after the first renovation in January 1984, for example.  Next there was the stage expansion in 1997 which allowed PHANTOM OF THE OPERA to be presented for the first time in the Mid-South.
But I must say that March 18th might have been one of the most important dates in our history.  On Tuesday we held the formal groundbreaking ceremony for our new Orpheum Centre for Performing Arts & Education.  I've spoken about the Centre several times on this blog, but for the first time I can tell you that the building is officially under construction. 

Once complete, the $14.5 million, 39,000 square foot, two-story Centre will be the central gathering place for students from pre-school through college.  This building will allow the Orpheum's education programs to serve over 100,000 students annually, representing our community's racial, religious, economic, and geographical diversity.  These students will come to the Centre to learn and to grow as individuals, preparing them for the exciting challenges ahead of them. 
Of course, the curriculum will be all about the arts, including performance, creativity, technical theatre, and audio and video instruction.  Then there's the added value of students working together as a team on a production.  Students will also learn about arts management as it pertains to marketing and social media, best business practices, fundraising, and many more subjects that they can use no matter where their future professional lives take them.
The numbers are amazing.  Tens of thousands of students every year will be exposed to all the life advantages that the arts provide.  I truly believe that the Centre will be a major force in preparing future generations to grow into a creative, problem-solving, and tolerant community, creating a better future for us all.

Pat Halloran
Orpheum President and CEO

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