DURYEA — The project is called “Phoenix Rising,” but while the Phoenix Performing Arts Center at 411 Main St. is not rising from the ashes, it is hoping to rise to new heights for its talent to shine.
Members of the Leadership Wilkes-Barre class of 2018 are appealing to the community to assist with an important project that will make a lasting impact on the center.
The project will expand the seating area, refurbish the stage, which currently has some dangerous weak spots, refresh the lobby area and give new light to the signage and front exterior.
The theater will celebrate its 10th anniversary in May, but the building it is located in is more than 100 years old. The project committee is hopeful these changes will continue to bring music and the arts to the local community.
“From the first performance I saw at Phoenix, I was amazed by the level of talent of the stage there, but the building was run down and definitely did not shine like the talent,” said Ruth Lovett, a member of the project committee. “Phoenix was the first place I thought of for a project idea when I found out I was going to be in the 2018 Leadership Wilkes-Barre class.”
Lovett said the children and adults of the Phoenix Performing Arts Center have a passion for performing and the theater is one of the few companies that will work with young performers as young as 4 to 6 years of age, giving them a place to be on stage.
Lovett said every theater production is a learning experience, not only in acting but also with creativity and thinking out of the box to give children a well-rounded knowledge of theater in every capacity. The Phoenix theater people believe kids can do anything when challenged and mentored to reach for the stars.
“I feel truly blessed to have so much support for the theater and for our kids,” said Lee LaChette, theater director. “It’s overwhelming, and I have not come down off the cloud yet.”
Lovett said as the committee embarked on the project, they realized they couldn’t do it alone. She said the committee is turning to the community for support with a tax-deductible donation to help cover the costs of project materials.
Information on how interested donors can participate in making the project a reality is provided on the committee’s Facebook page — Phoenix Rising.
Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.