The Shadowland Theatre, cradled between the Catskill and Shawangunk Mountains in Ellenville, New York, 90 miles northwest of Broadway, opened as an Art Deco vaudeville and silent film house on July 3, 1920. It was badly damaged in a 1937 fire and rebuilt, then shut down in 1980. Four years later a married couple, who were professional actors moving to the area, found out about the building, in a state of significant disrepair, and persuaded 31 other Cooperative Artists actors to invest in and renovate it. The result was an award-winning playhouse offering professionally produced plays and musicals as the leading nonprofit Actors’ Equity Company in the Hudson Valley.
The fact that this group rambled into town and started from scratch was met with great support that continues today locally and throughout the Lower Hudson Valley region. Dedicated to high-quality, professionally produced plays and musicals, the Shadowland Theatre’s mission is to offer residents and visitors of the Valley a mix of classics and contemporary plays at affordable prices.
Shadowland recently celebrated its 30th year of performances as well as a $1,000,000 overhaul of the facility. It included the purchase of a nearby store-front building used as an ancillary 99-seat theater for Shadowland’s rehearsals and educational programs. It was restored to its original elegant form with a tiered, 186-seat venue, ADA compliant, with clear sightlines of no more than 35 feet from the stage with outstanding acoustics. A state-of-the-art HVAC system was also installed which has enabled year-round performances.
“Aesthetically, the space is really remarkable,” says Artistic Director Brendon Burke. “It’s a big transition that respects the Art Deco history of the theater, but also moves the Art Deco forward with a more industrial feel. It’s really a beautiful space.”
Burke, producing director since 1994, states that most of the donations for the capital campaign came from the community. “The majority of the renovation dollars were spent locally with local contractors and local suppliers … This is the most generous community I’ve ever lived in,” he says. “We’re thrilled to be a part of the economy of the community. We will be bringing hundreds and hundreds of people who will fill the restaurants and fill the stores.”
Shadowland‘s educational program takes the form of the Young Actors Academy. Says Burke, the theatre “… not only raises students’ appreciation of literature and the theater, but also (contributes) something more: It improves their lives overall — they become better students and better individuals … We have excellent relationships with the local junior and senior high schools and with (State University of New York) SUNY New Paltz and SUNY Ulster.”
Enter affordable Easy-Ware POS software enabling The Shadowland Theatre to provide efficient box office ticketing and concession sales to its patrons — as well as offering them online ticket purchasing. And an additional program, Diamond Donate, contributes a valuable source of vital fundraising revenue.