PORTLAND, ME (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — New York City-based indie promoter The Bowery Presents, and Alex Crothers of Higher Ground Presents, an independent promoter and veteran of the New England music scene, have pacted with Stone Coast Properties to reopen the State Theatre in Portland, Maine. Music industry veteran and Portland local Lauren Wayne will serve as General Manager of the State Theatre and will handle booking the venue, with the first shows slated to begin this fall.
The Bowery Presents and Mr. Crothers will be equal partners in operating and programming all music events at the State Theatre, with Lauren Wayne reporting to both parties. The group expects to book approximately 80 shows a year with a cross section of live music from diverse performers. In addition to the State Theatre, the partnership will explore options to book other venues and festivals in the area and develop marketing and partnerships opportunities for their concerts.
"Until Alex brought us this opportunity, we hadn't envisioned expanding into Maine," said Jim Glancy, The Bowery Presents. "But once we visited Portland and toured the State Theatre, we fell in love with the City and saw the potential in the theatre that will appeal to Portland's creative community. Bringing Lauren on board provided us with a great asset in the Portland and was the icing on the cake."
In addition to booking performances at the State Theatre, Ms. Wayne will oversee all operations of the theatre including production management, box office and ticketing, concessions and other sales. Her office will be on site at the venue.
"I am excited and honored to be involved with the renovation efforts and overall management of the State Theatre," said Ms. Wayne. "With further refurbishing, the State will once again serve as an amazing, beautiful showcase for bands – and it will be exciting to have local audiences as well as audiences from all over New England enjoy this historic venue. The renovated State will be a great addition to Portland's thriving creative economy."
Ms. Wayne will also oversee renovations and continue on the progress that Stone Coast Properties began on the State Theatre. Recent renovations include electrical work, relocating the men's and women's rooms and ceiling refurbishments, ensuring the historic venue is code compliant. The new partnership plans to restore the stage and modernize the venue with new sound systems, including work to the theatre's acoustics, and updating the lighting. The entire theatre will also be reseated, creating new site lines, giving the audiences better views of the performers. The new venue capacity is expected to be 1,450. In addition, there will be upgrades to the dressing rooms, new administrative offices, refurbishment of the bars, and new carpet installed.
"I am thrilled to have a hand in reviving the State Theatre, a jewel in the Portland-area music scene and a legacy in New England," said Mr. Crothers. "Reopening the theatre provided the perfect opportunity to work with Jim and John at Bowery Presents. We've flirted for years and now we have our first date. Our companies share the same philosophy for restoring the State Theatre and bringing quality entertainment to the area."
The State Theatre opened on November 8, 1929 and was designed in a semi-Atmospheric/Spanish style with an original seating capacity of 2,300. It operated as a first run movie house until the late-1960, when it became a porn theatre. In 1989, the theatre was closed and fell into disrepair. By the mid-1990's, the theatre was saved and restored. It closed for a brief time after its restoration and was reopened by new owners as a performing arts and concert venue. The State Theatre hosted such diverse acts as Wilco, Modest Mouse, Gillian Welch, David Byrne, Interpol, Snoop Dogg, Ray LaMontagne, Sonic Youth, John Hiatt and Kings of Leon before it closed in early-2006. – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers