Blackfriars Celebrates 70 Years Of Local Theatre-Making!

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Blackfriars Theatre is proud to be celebrating its 70th year of artistry in downtown Rochester as it kicks off the next chapter of professionally-minded, artistically-ambitious local theatre-making! To commemorate this milestone, the theatre has planned a Party in the Parking Lot bash to take place on Saturday, August 17th from 5 p.m. - 8 p.m. This FREE, family-friendly community event will include food from Rob's Kebabs, Donna Daddy's, Waffles R Wild, and Taste The ROC. An outdoor bar will be provided by The Penthouse at One East Avenue, in addition to live music, lawn games, prizes, a vendor bazaar featuring the work of local artists, children's activities, backstage tours, and much more.

"What makes this company so vital, engaging and special to the multitude of artists and patrons who have experienced it," says Danny Hoskins, BT's Artistic & Managing Director, "is the unique personal and intimate experiences it offers to all of our patrons and artists. At the heart of what we do - the heart of storytelling - is the yearning to celebrate, challenge, dissect and cherish the notion of what it means to be human. Therefore, these moments people share at Blackfriars become deeply personal, powerful and memorable and they create strong bonds - forging a sense of community, a sense of belonging, and a home (for 70 years) where people experience something meaningful together."

The 70th Anniversary Season is a milestone for the Theatre as it celebrates the hard work of hundreds of Rochester artists. Throughout the company's seven decades, it has worked alongside numerous national and International Artists and produced dozens of new works. Most recently, Blackfriars partnered with the award-winning PUSH Physical Theatre, mounting original productions of their current national touring shows Jekyll & Hyde and Dracula in 2016 and 2017, respectively. In the spring of 1992, the company worked directly with Sir Tim Rice (Hall of Fame lyricist and songwriter) on a unique adaptation of his musical Chess - re-structured specifically for the Blackfriars production. Perhaps the most notable collaboration occurred in 2012 when the Theatre hosted Emmy Award-winning recording artist Melanie Safka and produced the world premiere of her musical Melanie and the Record Man, conceived and written by BT's previous Artistic Director, John Haldoupis.

Blackfriars has also seen many of its young artists go on to professional work regionally, internationally, on Broadway, and in television and film. The two most high-profile alums are Michael Park, who currently stars in the Tony Award-winning Dear Evan Hanson and Netflix's Stranger Things Season 3, and Donna Lynn Champlin, with numerous Broadway, film and television credits under her belt - most notably starring in the series Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. With the Theatre's training program for the next generation of artists only in its fourth year, there are most certainly many more outstanding alums to come.

In addition to this outdoor bash, BT plans to commemorate its 70th with a pair of retrospective concerts, a play reading series highlighting favorites from past years and the biggest, brassiest theatrical season yet. Blackfriars looks forward to showcasing everything that has made it special and essential over the previous 69 years as a staple of the downtown Rochester arts scene.

The 70th Anniversary Party in the Parking Lot is presented with support from Yelp Rochester, the Gouvernet Arts Fund at The Community Foundation, The Penthouse at One East Avenue, The Rochester Brainery, and Corporate and individual sponsorship opportunities are still available - contact Mary Tiballi Hoffman, Development Manager, at to learn more.

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