Downtown performing arts center gets $2 million federal boost

December 27, 2022
computer rendering of new theater inside view

Fitchburg State University’s downtown theater restoration project has received $2 million in federal support thanks to the efforts of the regional congressional delegation.

The funds will go toward the development of a “black box” theater to be constructed adjacent to the main theater building in the downtown performing arts center. The new construction will be used for university productions and the public, with the restoration of the historic theater to follow in a future phase of construction.

U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan announced the funding as part of a larger $20.7 million spending package for the Third Congressional District.

“We are extraordinarily grateful for the support of Congresswoman Trahan in securing funds for this transformational project and recognizing the importance that the performing arts center will have on our students and the cultural enrichment and economic development for the city and region,” said Fitchburg State President Richard S. Lapidus. “I want to further express my appreciation to Senators Markey and Warren, our state legislators and city leaders who continue to collaboratively play a part in moving this important project forward.” 

The university purchased the long-dormant theater block at 717 Main St. in 2016. The building is already home to the game studio wherein seniors in Fitchburg State’s game design program complete their capstone semesters, as well as the interdisciplinary ideaLab that is used for small business training and other functions. Additional storefronts in the building are being renovated for commercial and gallery space thanks to previous municipal, state and federal allocations.