Twin Ports Stage Building Theater Downtown
In a space that formerly housed the operations center for the National Bank of Commerce, the dedicated people behind the Twin Ports Stage theater group are gradually watching their dreams come to life. The group was founded three years ago as a nonprofit theater company formed to increase theater and arts options in Superior, and to honor UWS theater professor John Munsell.
Many of the theater company’s members are UWS alumni. Since their founding the group has routinely presented live radio shows at the Belknap Lounge in Superior’s East End (20 and counting), and have staged or sponsored a handful of live productions. Their decision to begin construction on a new venue brings them one step closer to the goal of creating a new performance space for Superior.
Victoria Main, director of Twin Ports Stage, envisions a space filled with art, music, and an appreciative public. Scott Georgeson, with Milwaukee-based Orchestra architectural firm, is helping Main bring her vision to life. Twin Ports Stage’s new home will come to life at 1101 Tower Avenue.
“Our focus is maximum flexibility,” said Main.
According to the Douglas County Historical Society, in days gone by the 5000 square foot space housed Newberry’s Dime Store. Main hopes their new venue will serve as an arts magnet, offering live theater productions, movies, and art shows. The space will also be available for public meetings and private parties.
However, much work has to be done before those dreams can be brought to life. Handicap accessible bathrooms, an office and a bar are planned, along with a stage and mobile seating for up to 125 people.
Main expects to be open in early 2017, and hopes to make the Twin Ports Stage facility a “community space.” The building is owned by Pat Kelly and her brother Mike.
The Twin Ports Stage Facebook page has seen many positive comments and words of encouragement since the announcement was made that the facility would be built.
The estimated cost of developing this space into a functional arts space is between $55,000 and $70,000 according to Main. Twin Ports Stage is half way towards raising that capital, and is working on grant opportunities with the city of Superior. They are also seeking private donations.
“There will never be a lower-cost option to create a functional arts center.” Victoria Main, TPS Director
The organization is a registered non-profit, and all gifts to the nonprofit group are tax deductible.
Bruce Thompson, leader of the Better City Superior group and president of National Bank of Commerce, is enthusiastic about development in downtown Superior. He said, “arts and entertainment on Tower Avenue create new reasons for residents and visitors to go downtown.”
“Once in the downtown our tourists and citizens can then support the local businesses in and around with consumption spending that grows our economy and complements the broader Better City Superior vision.” Bruce Thompson, Better City Superior
Better City Superior has proposed building a $100-120 million development in downtown Superior that would include a 150 room hotel, a convention center, an indoor water park, as well as indoor soccer and lacrosse fields. That initiative is going to an advisory referendum for the residents of Superior on November 8th.
“If you’re excited about an art space in Superior, and you don’t want to go to Duluth for all your art experiences, now is the time to lend your support,” Main said. “Whether it’s $10 or $10,000, it all helps.”
Donations can be sent to Twin Ports Stage, P.O. Box 1484, Superior, WI, 54880 or online through a button on the group’s Facebook page. For more information, contact Main at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-341-9419. The group will host the next installments of its live radio show at 6 p.m. Oct. 26 at Belknap Lounge.
A community wall in the theater will have the names of the “Superior” people and organizations who have supported Twin Ports Stage and made this space possible.