by Blake Herzog | Renderings by Otwell Associates Architects
The architecture of the building just completed on Marina Street north of Willis Street fits its historic downtown Prescott location. Yet it embodies the future of live entertainment and of an organization that has been bringing it to the community for more than a half-century.
The people around Suze’s Prescott Center for the Arts (PCA) have been dreaming big since the beginning. As soon as the former Sacred Heart Catholic Church was donated to the newly formed Prescott Fine Arts Association in 1968 as a home for community theater, the founders began to say, “Just think what we could do with a second building,” PCA Executive Director Robyn Allen says.
Now the historic church building, converted into a theater with an art gallery and other amenities, has a new sibling — a 99-seat studio theater, built “in the round” for a more intimate audience experience.
It has state-of-the-art projectors and sound systems that immerse the performers and audience in deep forest, outer space or whatever world a production is creating, greatly reducing the need to build or modify sets for each show.
“It’s a much greener, more technological way to produce shows,” Allen says, allowing more flexibility with staging. The new equipment also will provide new training opportunities for participants in PCA’s summer youth program, which will expand into the additional space provided by the new structure.
“I think our dream for these kids is not necessarily for them to become a leading stage performer and end up on Broadway, but to have somebody building sets or working on lights and sound and decide they’re interested in becoming a technician,” she says.
The 8,400-square-foot structure includes extensive rehearsal and classroom space that will host visual arts along with performance classes, making it a hub for all forms of art.
There is an expanded art gallery and box office/concession sales area, plus a 100-seat amphitheater next to the building, expected to be open this summer.
Much of this space can be rented for private events as the nonprofit adds revenue sources.
New offices and a generous storage space for five decades’ worth of costumes and props, which had been stuffed into a small room and every available nook and cranny in the main building, will make it much easier for PCA to function day to day.
PCA is continuing its fundraising efforts to cover $1.3 million in construction cost increases due to the pandemic and inflation, with Allen thanking Pinnacle Bank for supporting its interim financing.
“Now let’s get this theater open so we can start paying it back!” she says.
A New Act Begins
Suze’s Prescott Center for the Arts,
208 N. Marina St. in Prescott, has
scheduled four productions in its
new studio theater during the first
half of 2023:
• Picasso at the Lapin Agile
• The Clean House
• The Curious Incident of the Dog
in the Night-Time
• 12 Angry Jurors
May 25-June 4
For tickets and more information
visit www.pca-az.net or call