Upstage Theatre's new theater

UpStage Theatre's new theater features a large stage, new sound system and lighting. The company will celebrate its 15th anniversary and new Cortana Mall venue tonight.

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO FROM UPSTAGE THEATRE

UpStage Theatre will add a new dimension to its 15th anniversary season Sunday night with a celebration of its new theater in Cortana Mall.

The celebration starts at a 5 p.m. reception, followed by a short program inside the theater, which is across from Dillard's at Entrance 1. Tickets are $15.

"We've been working toward building a new theater for the last few years," founder and artistic director Ava Brewster Turner says. "But this opportunity came to us when we were preparing for our 15th anniversary celebration, and we've been blessed with a new location."

The community company has been performing on its 950-square-foot theater at 1713 Wooddale Blvd., moving to other venues to accommodate larger audiences for bigger productions.

The move to Cortana Mall places UpStage in a venue of more than 6,000 square feet.

"But our offices are still located at Wooddale," Turner says. "And we're going to keep our smaller theater. It's going to be our black box theater."

Turner says work on the new theater began in the second week of August and includes a large stage, along with a new sound system and lighting.

"It's a beautiful new space," Turner says. "And we're excited to be bringing the arts to an area that isn't serviced by the arts. We're also excited to be able to offer our theater as an opportunity for the community to use."

Turner also is planning main stage and black box series for future seasons.   

UpStage's inaugural production in the new space will be August Wilson's "Seven Guitars" from Oct. 13-15.

The story begins and ends after the funeral of blues singer Floyd "Schoolboy" Barton and is the 1940s entry in Wilson's "Pittsburgh Cycle," a decade-by-decade anthology of African-American life in Pittsburgh.

"We're already rehearsing in the new theater," Turner says. "But first, we're looking forward to our official opening celebration, which will include a ribbon-cutting and short reflections by actors, patrons and people in the community."


UpStage Theatre's 15th Anniversary Celebration

WHEN: 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 1

WHERE: UpStage Theatre, Entrance 1, Cortana Mall, 9401 Cortana Place

ADMISSION: $15

TICKETS/INFORMATION: Call (225) 924-3774 or visit upstagetheatre.biz

Follow Robin Miller on Twitter, @rmillerbr.