From left, Stumptown Stages artistic director Kirk Mouser, PCPA director Robyn Williams, local business leader and actor Corey Brunish and artist Julianne Johnson gather at the after party for "Club Morocco" to announce changes to Brunish Hall.
Prominent business leader and actor Corey Brunish recently donated funding to complete a $16,000 project that will turn Brunish Hall, the Portland Center for the Performing Arts' flexible-space venue, into a true black box theater that will better serve local theater companies. The announcement was made following the finale of Stumptown Stage's first season in Brunish Hall. The non-profit musical theater company produced three shows in 2011-2012 including "Once on This Island," "Ebenezer Ever After" and "Club Morocco."
According to PCPA executive director Robyn Williams, Stumptown's success played a major role in the decision to revitalize the space. "It's amazing how Stumptown Stages has taken a blank slate and transformed it into a vibrant performance space," Williams said. "We are looking forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship with this company."
Stagecraft Industries, a local company with more than 50 years of experience in the performing arts sector, also played a major role in getting the project off the ground by donating consultation services and items, such as equipment and draperies.
"We anticipate that the permanent upgrades that Corey Brunish and Stagecraft Industries have generously made possible will only increase Brunish Hall's status as a high quality venue," Williams said.
Changes to Brunish Hall will include expanding the performance grid, which will enlarge the stage footprint space by 10 feet. Black theatrical drapes will also be installed throughout, creating a proper black box theater.
Brunish said he is delighted to see the progress being made to the venue that is named for his mother.
"For years, the space was used for rehearsals and various meetings, and now, at long last, it will be a true black box theater ready to be filled with the lively arts," Brunish said. "I agree with JFK when he said 'I look forward to an America which will reward achievement in the arts as we reward achievement in business.' I participated in this project because I feel like we are achieving that with this space."
Kirk Mouser, executive artistic director of Stumptown Stages, could not agree more.
"After years of searching for a permanent home within the city of Portland, our search has ended with a collaborative effort between PCPA and Stumptown Stages," Mouser said. "PCPA has worked diligently to provide support for non-profits and the Brunish Hall project is a wonderful example of that effort."
Stumptown Stages' 2012-13 season will include "Dracula: A Musical Nightmare," "The Great American Trailer Park Musical," and the world premiere of "It's a Wonderful Life," a musical written by Michael Allen Harrison and directed by Brunish.