The Blue Barn Theatre has reached the halfway mark of its capital campaign to raise $7 million to build a performance space at 10th and Pacific Streets.
Susan Clement-Toberer, the Blue Barn's artistic director, said ground will be broken in the winter or next spring, depending on the weather. The theater is expected to open in fall 2015, in time to launch the Blue Barn's 27th season, she said.
The Blue Barn finished the feasibility phase of planning for the new theater in April and has hired the Min Day architecture firm, which has offices in Omaha and San Francisco, for the design and construction phase.
“They were the perfect match to continue the process and bring the new Blue Barn to full realization on budget and on time,” Clement-Toberer said.
Plans, unchanged since the project was announced in April 2012, call for an intimate 99-seat theater with an innovative performance space that includes indoor and outdoor options for its use.
Design and construction of the theater is expected to cost $5 million. An additional $1 million is being raised for operating expenses and another $1 million for an endowment to keep the theater financially strong, Clement-Toberer said.
The $3.5 million already raised includes a $50,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, announced last month. It is one of 59 Our Town grants awarded nationwide for “placemaking projects that help transform communities into lively, beautiful and sustainable places with the arts at their core,” a Nebraska Arts Council press release said.
Clement-Toberer said the grant puts an NEA stamp of approval on plans to re-enliven the 10th Street corridor as an entertainment and arts district.