ELMHURST – On July 13, board members of the Elmhurst Centre for Performing Arts presented their vision for a 30,000-square-foot facility during the organization’s first event.

The Elmhurst Centre for Performing Arts hosted an open house from 5 to 8 p.m. at Flight 112, 110 W. Park Ave., to display the conceptual design renderings of the proposed facility.

This was the organization’s official presentation of the initiative to build a multistage center for theater, music, dance and comedy in downtown Elmhurst.

“Not a single person that we have spoken to thinks this is a bad idea,” said Jeff Budgell, architect and chairman of the board of the Elmhurst Centre for Performing Arts.

The conceptual plan calls for a 350-seat formal theater, a 100-seat theater with minimal set capabilities, a rooftop stage and venue, two large practice studios, a lobby with a cafe and a catering kitchen.

“I think the vision is lofty but doable,” board member Laura Michaud said.

Michaud brings a substantial amount of expertise to the initiative as she also is the co-founder and chairman of the board of Stage 773, a performance complex in the Belmont District of Chicago.

She said that even though this isn’t the first time the idea of building a performing arts facility in Elmhurst has been discussed, it’s the right time to make it a reality.

“I think what made it take flight now is that everything is in our favor right now,” Michaud said. “There are a number of entities that are very motivated to make it a reality.”

Some of the groups that would benefit from a performing arts facility include the local theater troupe GreenMan, which currently practices in the basement of a church; the Elmhurst Children’s Theater, which depends on limited and expensive space; and others such as Spirito! and Elmhurst Choral Union.

Additionally, Michaud said the ECPA proposed facility fits with the city’s vision for the future of downtown Elmhurst.

“What we have learned is that city officials are also really, really excited about this because there is going to be a strong economic impact,” Michaud said.

Budgell, who is a member of the Elmhurst City Centre Board of Directors, believes the project would bring people and money to Elmhurst.

“In terms of theater, I don’t have an artistic bone in my body, but I see the economic impact ability for the town and how it can really generate business downtown,” he said.

The ECPA initiative also would foster and help produce more local talent.

Elmhurst already has a strong cultural presence with three museums, a state of the art library, a college and a symphony orchestra, just to name a few. According to Michaud, the Elmhurst Centre for Performing Arts will be a place that helps breed talent and solidifies Elmhurst as an arts and culture destination.

“We have bred a lot of talent so far, and the thing that everyone is screaming for is a professional venue where they can practice and perform and the community can enjoy what’s coming out of these groups,” Michaud said.

Since the project is in its early stages, there is no estimate of how much the facility would cost or a set timeline. The organization, however, is actively looking for business partnerships and institutional support.

Original post: http://www.mysuburbanlife.com/2016/07/13/elmhurst-centre-for-performing-arts-discusses-proposed-facility/a6zimz3/