New theater sets the arts tone in Lawrence

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The arts in Lawrence are getting a lot better. Sunday people at Theatre Lawrence unveiled a new $7 million facility for community theater.

The new building sits in front of Free State High School in West Lawrence and is almost 30,000 more square feet than the old building on New Hampshire Street.

Executive Director Mary Doveton says the 14-year quest for a new theater included studying area facilities like the Topeka Civic Theater.

“We traveled to Topeka, to Salina, to Omaha, Wisconsin, we studied theaters in Carolina, stole the best ideas from every place across the country,” Doveton says.

President of Board of Directors, Dean Bevan, hopes this will inspire smaller communities with no theater.

“There are lots of communities in the Midwest and in the plain states that could use something like this where you have performance art done by local people and with local support and We’re a good representative of that,” Bevan says.

At the ribbon cutting there was also a short performance from Ragtime, the first show to open at the new theater.

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