Phase One of the $50,000 Initiative will Preserve the Exterior Integrity of This Architectural Treasure

[GHENT, NY] – The Ghent Playhouse is just two seasons away from celebrating its 50th anniversary and the 130th anniversary of its historic building. With this in mind, Phase One of a capital campaign, The Ghent Playhouse Restoration Fund, is now underway. This $50,000 initiative will help with the cost of much-needed repairs to the building’s structure.  

“It has become shockingly evident that the exterior of the building must be addressed immediately. 130 years and severe weather conditions have left their mark,” said Board President Sam Reilly. “Our goal is to preserve and maintain the integrity of this priceless architectural treasure that is home to our theater company.”

Phase One of the campaign involves structural repairs and repainting the building’s exterior, including extensive trim work, clapboards and metal roof,” Reilly said. “We had hoped to launch this campaign in 2020; however, the pandemic forced us to delay our plans. The building’s exterior has only worsened over the past few years, creating an even more urgent need to address these issues.”

The striking Queen Ann style building, with its decorative shingles and stained glass windows, remains nearly identical to what it looked like when it was originally built to house the first Ghent Town Hall in the 1890s. Until 1985, the building also housed the Post Office and most of the town’s civic functions. In 1986, the Ghent Playhouse,  formerly the Columbia Civic Players, officially took ownership of the building, renovating it to serve as a full-time theater.  

“The structure is one of the few remaining pieces of the Golden Age of Ghent’s downtown, 1890-1920,” said Ghent Historian Gregg Berninger. “Its historical significance goes well beyond its being the center of Ghent’s civic life for 92 years. Its presence is a key reference point to the layout of the hamlet and the history of the town.”

“If I had to choose one place to represent the history of Ghent, it would be the Ghent Playhouse,” said Berninger. “Their stewardship of the building for the past 30 years has been nothing short of remarkable, and I unequivocally support their efforts to garner funding to maintain this marvelous building.”

A contribution to the Ghent Playhouse Restoration Fund will help provide a prosperous and vibrant future for the performing arts and the next generation of theater-goers within the community. To learn more about the Campaign and the historic theater or to make a donation, go to Donations can also be made by mail: The Ghent Playhouse, PO BOx 64, Ghent, NY 12075 or by phone (518) 392-6264.  

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