Monadnock Ledger-Transcript - Committee to ‘Fill the Void’ at ConVal officially disbands, cites lack of funding

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After nearly a decade, the group encouraged dialogue to build a new community auditorium and performance space at ConVal Regional High School, but the group has been disbanded, saying that there is not enough funding to continue moving forward.

The movement is locally known as "filling the void". It tried to build a center in a U-shaped gap at the back of the high school and proposed to name it the Thornton Wilder Arts Center.

Rob Eichler, chairman of the board of directors of the Thornton Wilder Arts Center, said on Monday: "Funds and overall regional resources are not attractive." "There are too many competing projects that require charities, volunteers and donations."

Eichler said that although COVID-19 did not provide the final death knell for the project, it did emphasize its challenges.

The center’s board of directors has conducted several feasibility and design studies for a potential performing arts center, and maintained an annual operating budget of $6,000, but has not initiated a capital campaign to establish the center. The cost of the project is estimated based on the current building The cost is about 8 million US dollars.

The board of directors has used donations to fund facility needs assessments for high school students and local actors, and commissioned Scully / Architects and

For the art center.

The board also obtained permission from the Thornton Wilder family to use the name of the author of "My Town" on the facility.

Aihir said that the twice-a-year "Black Fly Story Hour" event is a fundraising event for the center, and it may continue to some extent, but once a large gathering, more specific plans for the event must be discussed. Feasible again.

Eichler said that the community has been building a new performing arts center in high schools since 2012, mainly driven by parents and students who are interested in drama and music. Eicher said the school’s current Lucy Herring Theatre can accommodate 200 people, and because it meets the needs of most schools, it is too small and restricts backstage space and seating.

Eicher said: "We see a lack and demand, and there are many performance groups in the area looking for larger, acoustically suitable performance venues." "Some of our performance groups are bringing performances to the area and in townhouses. Or when we perform well in the church, it is indeed admirable. But for a region that embraces art so much, we really lack cohesion."

Other regional projects have achieved greater success and will be realized this year.

In Jaffrey, after ten years of planning and fundraising, Jaffrey Park Theatre has recently completed the reconstruction of its building on Jaffrey Avenue, and hopes to open as a cinema and performing arts center in 2021. The theater includes a main auditorium with a capacity of 350 seats. The auditorium has a stage, including a dressing room, orchestra, storage room and stage flies. In addition, there is an auditorium and conference room with a capacity of 100 seats for small performances.

The Peterborough Town Library also broke ground in 2020, which includes a meeting room with a capacity of 120 people, which uses advanced sound and media for acoustic tuning and can be used as a small performance space.

Aihir said these successes are encouraging.

"I don't think it's an option," Aihir said. "Rising rides raise all ships. I want to see all these projects succeed. Our strength will never be there."

Aihir said that he hopes to see the dream continue, or to relive the dream in the future, but he said: "The timing is wrong."

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