News Column

Performing arts and activity center takes over at former teen center space

August 15, 2014

By Robert Brauchle, Daily Press (Newport News, Va.)



Aug. 15--HAMPTON -- A facility where teenagers once milled about playing table tennis and billiards is being converted into a performing arts venue and activity center.

The city-operated teen center at 300 Butler Farm Road will be transformed this summer and fall to better accommodate adults during the daytime and aspiring artists and performers during the evening.

In her April budget address to the City Council, City Manager Mary Bunting said the center will become a "flexible community space" and act as host for an "urban performing arts program."

Marie St. Clair is responsible for building the performing arts piece of the center. She envisions vocal artists and poets mixing in communal rooms, a 100-seat theater that will help actors develop their skills and a recording studio where singers and rappers can lay down tracks without interruption.

"The performing arts have been my passion for a long time," St. Clair said on an Aug. 11 tour of the facility. "I would love to build something that offers a little something for everyone."

The center will act as a home for the Musical Mosaic Vocal Ensemble, Powerhouse Poets and Inner-tainer Theatre Troup, according to a city news release.

Both the former teen center and upcoming performing arts and activities center are all products of the city Parks and Recreation Division. The new programming is not expected to change costs for taxpayers.

Organizers were still fleshing out functions of the activity center on Aug. 14.

The Hampton Teen Center was a pay-to-play facility that offered basketball courts, a recording studio, video game room and other activities for high school students aged 14 to 18. Registration was required and Hampton residents needed to pay $10 annually to participate in activities.

Brauchle can be contacted by phone at 757-247-2827.

Performing Arts Program

Informational tours will be held:

6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Aug. 15.

Noon to 2 p.m. on Aug. 16.

Upcoming events:

Aug. 16: Hot Spot Open Mic Show from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Event for ages 16 to 30.

Aug. 21: Night of entertainment hosted by Dreason Ruckett and the Powerhouse Poets beginning at 7 p.m. For all ages.

Both shows are free to attend and free to perform in.

Contact organizer Marie St. Clair at 757-896-4692 or mstclair@hampton.gov.

___

(c)2014 the Daily Press (Newport News, Va.)

Visit the Daily Press (Newport News, Va.) at www.dailypress.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services


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Source: Daily Press (Newport News, VA)


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