OK, let the rumors end here: Seattle Theater Group confirmed this morning that it has signed a longterm lease to operate the historic Neptune Theatre in the University District. STG is the nonprofit that currently operates the Paramount and Moore theaters in downtown Seattle. From the press release I’ve just received;
STG will operate The Neptune Theatre utilizing the stage and programming live performance with the goal to help fortify the University Business District and provide diverse performing arts to a community outside the downtown core. The venue will close for maintenance and is expected to re-open Spring 2011.
“The core of STG’s mission is to make diverse dance, music, film, theatre, and arts education an integral part of our rich cultural identity; by expanding The Neptune’s capacity for increased artistic diversity, STG will not only preserve the historic theatre but also increase options for the community to engage with the arts,” said Josh LaBelle, STG’s Executive Director.
As I reported mere minutes ago (busy morning!), Landmark Theatres will cease operations of the Neptune in February. It will then close for renovations, to include restroom remodel, sprinkler system updates, removal of many of the seats, and “to restore historic cosmetic detail.” Programming, which will begin in the spring, will include concerts, film (STG says it hopes to continue Neptune’s partnerships with the Seattle International Film Festival, along with other film events), comedy, speakers, community events, educational presentations and free public events.
Though I’m sorry to see the Neptune leaving full-time film programming behind, this sounds like a potentially exciting partnership, particularly for those who live in or near the U District. And I’m delighted that this historic venue is being restored, rather than shuttered (as the Uptown is, at least for the moment) or destroyed. Your thoughts?