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City ready to show Central Auditorium

By Shannon Beamon

Staff Writer

The show is on at a new performing arts space in Albemarle.

Earlier this year, the Central Auditorium — part of a redevelopment project at the former Central School — raised its curtains to the public. The space is now available for rent through the city’s Parks & Recreation Department.

To give everyone a feel for what the Central Auditorium has to offer, the city will host an open house at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Along with tours of the facility, and refreshments, the event will include performances by the Albemarle High School Band, the Stanly County High School Jazz Ensemble and the Talent Company.

“That way everyone will get to see the space in action,” Parks and Recreation Director Lisa Kiser said.

Due to the amount of professional interest in the space, a number of local theater and music professionals contributed to the auditorium’s plans. With their advice, a professional sound system and full lighting array were installed at the site. In addition, the space has a screen and projector for public presentations and seating for about 250 people.

Completed a few months ago, several groups have already started to make reservations, staff members said.

“But we would love to have people in there every weekend,” Councilwoman Martha Sue Hall said at a discussion on the matter earlier this year. As part of aneconomic incentive agreement with the Central School redevelopers, the city agreed to take over leasing and outfitting the auditorium. Overall it cost them about $154,000 to install all of the equipment, so they have a vested interest in seeing it well used.

But officials said it is about more than that, too. Outside of the Stanly County Agri-Civic Center, the city does not have any designated spaces for the performing arts, they noted, and local groups have been asking for such a space.

“I think it will be something we can be very proud of,” Hall said.

To find out more about the open house or how to reserve the Central Auditorium, contact Albemarle Parks and Rec Department at 704-984-9560 or lkiser@albemarlenc.gov.

 

MARTHA SUE HALL

LISA KISER