New Spire Arts opens local community theater

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The theater district of Frederick is home to the historic Weinberg Center, and Maryland Ensemble Theatre, but this weekend, New Spire Arts is adding a new stage to the art scene.

“This is going to be presenting theater in a very intimate, and a very flexible format,” explained member of the New Spire Arts Board of Directors, Jonathan Warner.

The black-box community theater features a main stage that can fit up to 300 in the audience.

And it’s in this room that guest artist Celeste Miller has spent 2 weeks rehearsing with an ensemble of 15 artists for the community play “Stranger in a Strange Land.”

“This is a piece that we really invite the audience to set across the footlights, and engage with the performers who are real people. They’re not working with a script, they’re working with what has come from their hearts, from their lives from a story we created and crafted together,” Miller explained.

Warner says the theater is more than a decade in the making after a grant from the Ausherman Family Foundation helped make it a reality.

He adds the grant came as a response to the community that sought for more local art space.

“We didn’t have a small, intimate theater here. We had the ability to show larger acts but now we’ll be able to really give both actors and audiences a chance to be very creative,” Warner said.

The 13,000 square-foot building was once a McCrory’s five-and-dime store that dates back to the early 1900s.

Construction over the last year made sure to keep the original flooring and brick walls, while installing modern lighting and technology, to achieve a main goal.

“To take a historical asset and turn it into a 21st Century working asset…to really bring state-of-the-art theater and dramatic arts to the Frederick community,” Warner explained.

The New Spire Arts Stages will host its opening Saturday evening through Sunday.

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