Building Restoration Project
In 2011, the first phase of an ongoing project to restore the Theatre III building began, improving the look and structure of the building's exterior and steeple. This first phase was part of an overall restoration plan for the building, including more handicap access for patrons, interior renovations, and exterior landscape projects. Ticket sales, memberships, and donations all contribute to our goal of fully renovating and restoring our beautiful historic building.
EXCERPTS FROM "THEATRE III UNDERGOES HISTORIC RENOVATION"
Article by Margaret Smith - Wicked Local - Acton News from The Beacon
Work has started on the Theatre III building on Central Street West Acton, part of a long-term project to renovate the building.
The first phase of a comprehensive project to revamp the Theatre III building is under way, as contractors began last Friday with plans to replace rotted wood and rehabilitate the building’s steeple in a way consistent with its historic style, said Jamie Watt, chairman of the theater’s building and grounds committee. Watt said the project overall, slated to include work on both the building’s interior and exterior, will span four phases and cost a estimated $1.3 million, with main goals including improving handicapped accessibility and shoring up the building’s infrastructure against decay, water and insect damage. “Any old, historic building has a slope of decline,” Watt said. “When it gets very steep, water gets in and critters get in.” The first phase will cost an estimated $260,000, said Watt.
The work is being done in collaboration with the Historic District Commission. Funds include Community Preservation funds as well as those raised through the theater’s fundraising efforts. Watt said the Acton Conservation and Preservation Commission will reimburse the theater up to $229,500. Watt said the current project phase is expected to be finished by the end of the year, and said work should not interfere with normal theater operations. He said rehearsals are ongoing for “Jekyll And Hyde,” which will mark the start of the theater’s 56th season in the fall.
The building opened in 1868 as a church for the West Society of the Universalists of Acton. It was sold in 1925 to West Acton Women's Club, which added a stage and dressing rooms, and then sold in 1955 to the Acton Community Center. Various groups using the center included the Little Theatre Workshop, Acton Chorus and Acton Dance Club, which came together to form Theatre III.
The theater restored all the windows in the building in 2009 at a cost of about $50,000. The project was supported by the Acton Conservation and Preservation Commission.
"We will be doing a LOT of fundraising for this project, all in phases. The overall cost will be in excess of $1.7 million. Even with grants we will need to raise matching funds of up to $750,000 to cover our share. Nuncrackers is the first fund raiser, to be held Dec 9, 10, 11, with all proceeds going towards the project. Other activities planned include a road race in February and an online auction in April. Donations towards this project are tax deductible and can be made to Theatre III and mailed to the regular T3 address."