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ACTORS breaks ground on addition to theater

Ronna Faaborg
Ames Tribune

Ames Community Theater, also known as ACTORS, has started construction on a new addition and facade to its theater, located at 120 Abraham Drive.

“ACTORS kicked off its ‘Ground Breaking Season’ (the theme for this year’s productions) with a real groundbreaking ceremony,” Stan Rabe, vice president of operations for the theater group, said in a news release.

The entry and meeting room at the theater will double in size thanks to the new addition, he said.

“It will give audiences a nicer place to meet prior to a show and relieve the traffic jam of people trying to get into the building,” Rabe said in the release. “That space will also be used as an additional rehearsal space and can be used for small informal productions or concerts. 

Past and current members of ACTORS Board of Directors attended the July 30 groundbreaking. Pictured are Mike Jackson, Chris Truckenmiller, Chelsea Truckenmiller, Stan Rabe, Mary Howell-Sirna, Patrick Determan, Pam McPeak and Don Kom.

“The facade will look like an art deco theater to identify the building as a performance space. Parking will be moved closer to the front door with safer drop-off and pick-up locations. Additional storage space on the second floor of the project will be the bonus.”

Groundbreaking on the project took place July 30 and had an audience of about 40 ACTORS members and supporters, Rabe said.

Representatives from Integrity Construction, RMH Architects, First National Bank, Ames Chamber of Commerce and the Ames Convention and Visitors Bureau were involved with the ceremony celebrating the first shovels of dirt turned on the project.

ACTORS began using the original building in 1977, but for the first several years, the space was used for rehearsals, set construction and storage.

“The routine was to rehearse a show and then move to the performance space,” Rabe said in the release. “As the years passed, the building became the performance space for ACTORS, which eventually generated the need for the new addition. 

“The building is regularly pushed to its limits with bigger shows and musicals, and the building is bursting at its seams with the required storage.”

Rabe said that fundraising is ongoing for the building’s renovation.

“First National Bank is providing financing, but the objective is to raise the money to cover the cost of the addition,” he said in the release.

To contribute to the "Building for Our Future" campaign, which has raised over half of the funds necessary for the building, go to actorsinc.org, click on "About" and "Building for Our Future.”

As ACTORS works on its theater and simultaneously deals with the COVID-19 pandemic, the group received an invitation from Stephens Auditorium to produce its first show of the new season, “The Savannah Sipping Society,” on the Stephens’ stage. 

“Just like in the original days of the ACTORS building, ‘The Savannah Sipping Society’ will rehearse at ACTORS and then move to Stephens for performances,” Rabe said in the release. “This will be the first time an ACTORS show will run at Stephens which is a new experience for cast and crew alike.”

Stephens Auditorium’s large venue will provide space to allow the audience to maintain social distancing, which was proving to be a complicated undertaking at ACTORS’ theater.   

Audience members will be required to wear face masks. “The Savannah Sipping Society” opens Sept. 17 and will run for four performances. Tickets are available on the ACTORS website, www.actorsinc.org.