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Marblehead Little Theatre awarded $70,000 grant

June 1, 2020 : Wicked Local Marblehead


The money will be used to finish the final renovation plan of the 130-year old fire house

The Marblehead Little Theatre will be getting a facelift thanks to a $70,000 Cultural Facilities Fund matching capital grant.

“MLT is thrilled about this grant and we extend our gratitude to Governor Charlie Baker for supporting the Cultural Facilities Fund and the Mass Cultural Council,” said MLT President Julie Menard. “We also thank the greater-Marblehead community for supporting the arts and helping to keep MLT in the business of making live theatre and offering theatre education that is accessible for all.”

The Massachusetts Cultural Council in partnership with MassDevelopment awarded the grant that will be used for re-pointing both interior and exterior brick of the historic firehouse theatre on School Street. Built 130 years ago and commissioned as a firehouse in 1891, MLT’s masonry brick construction is fully original and in significant need of repair.

While generous the CFF grant is a matching grant which means MLT will need to raise a matching amount of $70,000 in donations from both public and private sources but the result will be a grand total of $140,000 for work on the building.

Menard sees the work as a solid investment noting that cultural organizations are important to the vibrancy and strength of the local economy and to the commonwealth overall.

The final phase

Repairing the brick masonry is the last phase in MLT’s building preservation. Since 2000 when MLT purchased this historic building from the town, the group has completely renovated the building, converting it to a flexible black box theater. Prior work includes new roofing, structural support columns, electric, plumbing, heating and air conditioning systems, tower window reconstruction, elevator installation, Americans with Disabilities Act compliance and the installation of state of the art theater lighting and sound systems.

In the next few weeks, the MLT website, mltlive.com and its social media pages will post detailed information about how the public can make donations and how funds will be raised for the required one-to-one match for this vital facility project.

The CFF is viewed as an important economic revitalization tool for the state’s cultural sector in a time when cultural organizations have been heavily impacted by closures and cancellations related to COVID-19.

“These grants will boost jobs in the construction industry at a critical time of increased unemployment, while investing in the cultural sector which is critical to the vitality of Main Street business,” said Anita Walker, executive director of the Mass Cultural Council.

The 2020 CFF grant round includes 100 projects totaling $9,302,400 for capital and planning grants to nonprofits, colleges and municipalities that own or operate facilities primarily focused on the arts, humanities, and sciences. The awards invest in the acquisition, design, repair, renovation, expansion, and construction of nonprofit and municipal cultural facilities.

For more information about Marblehead Little Theatre, visit mltlive.org. For more information on the Mass Cultural Council, visit massculturalcouncil.org.