Throughout most of 2020, you wouldn’t have found anyone at Broadway Rose praising COVID-19, which canceled most of the Tigard theater company’s traditional season and forced artists to find ways to entertain audiences online instead.
But now the pandemic appears to be a blessing in disguise.
Groundbreaking began this month for Broadway Rose’s long-anticipated $3.3 million expansion of its New Stage theater. Originally scheduled for April 2020, the global health outbreak and subsequent lockdown put the entire project on hold.
Despite the hardships that came with lost ticket sales and finding ways to translate live performances to a virtual setting, the company finished the year in a strong financial position. That led the board of directors to vote in favor of going forward with the build-out this past March—which means demolition and assembly can get underway while patrons are still viewing content at home rather than trying to see plays in person.
“Now is the ideal time to begin construction while the theater is still not performing live,” managing director Dan Murphy said in a press release.
The expansion should mean that Broadway Rose will return stronger than ever since it had taken up every single inch of the New Stage, even renting overflow workspaces to accommodate a growing staff and demand for education programs. Additions include a studio for rehearsals, youth camps, workshops and community events; a costume shop and enlarged scenic shop for the creative team; as well as more administrative offices.
“We reached capacity with our current space,” says artistic director Sharon Maroney. “This expansion will build infrastructure to support our artistic vision, and increase the possibilities of adding programming and hosting more community groups.”
The company had been operating out of the renovated C.F. Tigard Elementary School cafetorium since 2008. Along with the expansion, Broadway Rose signed a new 30-year lease agreement with the Tigard-Tualatin School District to ensure the site will be its long-term home. The entire project should be completed in January 2022.
Broadway Rose isn’t the only company that’s buoyed by potential growth on the other side of the pandemic. The National Endowment for the Arts recently announced the recipients of its second round of Grants for Arts Projects during the 2021 fiscal year, and 22 Oregon institutions in multiple disciplines were among those awarded, including Artists Repertory Theatre ($15,000), Hand2Mouth Theatre ($10,000) and the Circus Project ($20,000). In all, our state received over $1.3 million in funds.