The Barre Opera House, a 120-year-old performing arts venue in downtown Barre, has received a $150,000 donation from the National Life Group Foundation as part of the Opera House’s $1 million Second Century renovation campaign. In honor of National Life’s ongoing commitment, the Opera House announced at its kickoff Celebration Series event that the main stage will now be known as The National Life Group Main Stage at the Barre Opera House.
Built in 1899, the Barre Opera House has many unique historic elements that were lost in other American theaters long ago. Theater historians have described it as “last of its kind” – with historic flying bridges, decorative plasterwork and ornate tin ceiling – all original to when the hall opened in 1899. The Second Century campaign will allow the Opera House to conduct major renovations, which will include technology and safety upgrades and historic restoration and repair work.
The Foundation grant will preserve the historic elements of the Opera House’s back stage while bringing the rigging, lighting, and sound systems up to current standards. This twenty-first century technology will make the Opera House more attractive to top touring acts, support a broader range of performances, improve safety for performers and stage hands alike, and reduce labor costs for almost every event.
National Life has a long history with the Opera House, having provided the lead gift to the Opera’s House’s last major capital campaign in 1993.
“We are absolutely thrilled that National Life Group has, once again, taken the lead in supporting the performing arts and cultural life of Central Vermont,” said Bob Pope, Second Century Campaign Chair. “This gift will allow us to ensure that we remain a beloved venue for national performers and community groups alike.”
“Barre Opera House is a gem, not just in Vermont but in our Northeast region,” said Beth Rusnock, President of the National Life Group Foundation. “We value the many ways in which it benefits our community – creatively, economically, and culturally. National Life is proud to support this campaign which will help continue to bring fantastic talent and audiences to Barre.”
Currently, the Opera House has raised over $600,000 toward its $1 million goal, and hopes to complete the campaign and commence construction in Spring 2020.
About Barre Opera House
The mission of the Barre Opera House is to restore, preserve and operate the historic venue as a center for the performing arts serving the entire Central Vermont community. Built in 1899, the Opera House has a long history of hosting world-famous entertainers and speakers, including Emma Goldman, John Philip Sousa, Helen Keller and Tex Ritter. Today, the Opera House hosts 50-70 events each year, from local performers to internationally renowned entertainers, and welcomes over 25,000 visitors a year from the surrounding region and Canada. In addition, the Opera House also provides educational programming through student matinees and summer camps, to ensure accessibility to the performing arts for Central Vermonters of all ages.
About National Life Group
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