By David Madden
WILLIAMSTOWN, NJ (CBS) – A South Jersey community theatre closed for almost three years will be back in business next month.
The Grand Theatre in Williamstown closed down in May of 2010 when the roof collapsed, probably due to heavy snow the previous winter. Lauri Hudson, who heads up the Road Company, which owns the place, says history played a large role in deciding to rebuild.
“It was really important for the Road Company to rebuild it because we have been at the Grand since about 1989 doing live performances there.”
But the theatre’s history goes much further back.
“The Grand was built in 1924 as an old silent movie house and they used it for minstrel shows as well.”
The volunteer group took things over more than 20 years ago. The repairs cost $1.3 million, covered by insurance and $85,000 in donations. The facility has new, upgraded sound and light systems, a multi-purpose room upstairs and a gallery for local artists to use. The grand re-opening is set for Valentine’s Day with a performance of “Hairspray”.