Historic theaters work together for Alive Downtowns!

SCHENECTADY — Proctors Collaborative is teaming up with other historic downtown theatres across Upstate New York to create Alive Downtowns! to encourage state lawmakers to support these historic theatres, each of which provide significant economic and cultural benefit to their communities and the state.

As an affiliate of the Upstate Coalition for a Fairgame-established eight years ago in response to the development of new casinos in N.Y.-Alive Downtowns! seeks an ongoing annual $20 million commitment of financial assistance from the state.

“The goal is to have a long-term sustainable source of support for all these historic facilities,” said Proctors Collaborative CEO Phillip Morris.

According to Alive Downtowns! statement, the 13 upstate historic theaters, from Jamestown to Poughkeepsie, are essential to the cities’ continuing attractiveness, urban education opportunities and economic viability.

Morris added, “it’s a remarkable effort to build an upstate coalition like Alive Downtowns!  From 13 individual islands, we have become an archipelago!”

Alive Downtowns! members include Bardavon 1896 Opera House (Poughkeepsie), Clemens Center (Elmira), Palace Performing Arts Center (Albany), Proctors Collaborative (Schenectady, Albany, Saratoga), The Reg Lenna Center for the Arts (Jamestown), Rochester Broadway Theatre League’s Auditorium Theatre (Rochester), Shea’s Performing Arts Center (Buffalo), The Smith Center for the Arts (Geneva), Stanley Theatre (Utica), State Theatre of Ithaca, Landmark Theatre (Syracuse), Troy Savings Bank Music Hall and Ulster Performing Arts Center (Kingston).

Chris Silva, executive director of the Bardavon, said, “This group of performing arts centers are economic, educational and cultural engines in upstate. We are hoping the state can make a modest investment in us that will pay huge dividends.”

These facilities have an average age of nearly 100 years and have been keystones to their respective downtowns since opening. Collectively they serve over five million people annually including tens of thousands of students.

According to coalition members, the response from local legislators and the governor’s office has been very supportive. Members hope to reach all state elected officials to assure an annual appropriation that will allow these theatres to continue to support upstate’s downtowns, making them more accessible for the public for years to come.

More information about Alive Downtowns! can be found at afairgame.net.

Proctors is part of Proctors Collaborative.