Maryland Ensemble Theatre Launches Capital Campaign for New Second Stage
Maryland Ensemble Theatre (MET), Frederick's largest producing non-profit theatre is launching a Capital Campaign to raise funds for an additional performance space and alterations of its existing space.
Maryland Ensemble Theatre Incorporated and began producing full seasons of theatre in 1997, originally operating out of the former McCrory's five and dime, which more recently was home to the Frederick Art's Council. Since 2003 the Maryland Ensemble Theatre has performed and operated out of the lower level of the historic FSK Hotel at 31 W Patrick Street. Currently MET occupies roughly 12,000 square feet which encompasses the performance venue, the administrative offices, a classroom, a rehearsal area and the backstage area including dressing rooms, scene shop and storage. Recently the Maryland Ensemble Theatre signed a new six-year lease extension with the FSK that included the space previously occupied by Volunteer Frederick.
Over the course of the next year the MET, led by a Capital Committee that includes Dr. Mark Pitts, Rich Haney, Tad Janes, Abby Zanger Sievers, Kai Hagan and Suzanne Beal, will embark on a Capital Campaign to raise $100,000 for the transformation of the additional 1,700 square feet into a second performance space. The renovations are scheduled to occur simultaneously with the fundraising campaign and demolition has already begun. The new space currently known as "Stage2", but naming rights are available, is scheduled to be open for the beginning of the next season in September of 2014.
"With the amount of producing we do it's been something that we've been thinking about for awhile," said Tad Janes the MET's Artistic Director. "Between our Mainstage season, The Fun Company, The Comedy Pigs and all the MET-X shows produced by our ensemble members like the Laugh Station series, it's always been difficult to find stage time for everything. We might have three shows all going on at once and sharing a set or lights that work better for one than the other so this is going to hopefully effect not only how much we can produce but also the quality." In addition to producing a Mainstage season of roughly a hundred performances, a full season of family theatre, more than twenty performances of The Comedy Pigs and numerous MET-X shows, the MET is also home to The Ensemble School which offers two semesters of classes that run for twelve weeks and Fun Camp which offers four two week camps each summer. "There is hardly a single night where there aren't two or three things happening simultaneously in our space. We have all this programming in our own space but we also have our In-School Residences or our touring shows like our annual production of A Christmas Carol that need to rehearse in our venue as well. Stage2 is going to provide space for a lot of our educational program like our youth ensemble, Ensemble School performances and of course the Fun Company."
The current design for the new space will seat slightly fewer patrons than the hundred-seat black box but will be a flexible space that can accommodate seating catered for family theatre and a cabaret setup. The Capital Committee has already raised 20% of the targeted goal of $100,000 before the official launch of the campaign and is currently seeking additional foundation, corporate and individual support. The committee will launch the campaign at a reception on September 8 at 6pm. The launch will include tours of the space and will be catered by Canal Bar and Grill. The event precedes a performance of, Completely Hollywood (Abridged), the first show of Maryland Ensemble Theatre's sixteenth Mainstage season, which begins at 7pm.
The Maryland Ensemble Theatre is located at 31 W Patrick Street in downtown Frederick. For additional information visit marylandensemble.org or call 301-694-4744.