Sunday, May 31, 2009

May is over, but tough times are still ahead

So, we did it. We survived the busy month of May...a month of Gala craziness and the arrival of a brand new outdoor festival. Both of which were two very different events for the State Theatre. The Gala, which takes months and months of planning, is a night of cocktails, entertainment, dinner, dancing, auctions, and the works. This year's theme was a tribute to the movies and leading the concert was long-time Academy Awards® Music Director and Oscar® Award-winning composer Bill Conti (composer of the Rocky theme). The Gala, which is our big annual benefit, helped to raise $570,000 for the theater. It was a success, and a big one in these economic times.

Now, shifting gears, one week after the Gala on May 23, we held our first annual Urban Arts Festival. From reading our previous blog posts, you know that this was no easy task for us. It was tough...with no background in programming urban artists, very little time, and a very tight budget; it had the possibility of being a dud. However, I am happy to tell you that it wasn't! It was a blast! It truly went off without a hitch, well without any major problems anyway. Sure, we had a few sound issues (an outdoor stage will do that) and what not, but that's it.

video

(Above: A short video from Urban Arts featuring the local dance group Strickly Street)

So, for us at the State Theatre, May has been a good month. We couldn't have asked for a better way to end our season. Now, we look to the new fiscal year (ours begins in July) and we start planning for it now in June. It's going to be a tough year for the arts and we hope to meet the challenge.

The State Theatre is located at 15 Livingston Avenue in New Brunswick, NJ. For information or to purchase tickets call 732-246-SHOW(7469) or visit http://www.statetheatrenj.org/.

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Friday, May 22, 2009

The Urban Arts Festival is Here! What Do We Do Now?


So, after months and months of planning, it's here and it's tomorrow, Sat, May 23...the State Theatre's first annual Urban Arts Festival. It's an all-day (12pm-8pm) outdoor festival and we've booked so many acts, it's unbelievable. Very quickly, this venture into new territory, the urban arts, has gone from "what do we do and how do we do it," to "what do we do with all these big plans now?"

We have booked 20 plus acts, and scheduled 2 open mic times for local spoken word poets, and all of that must fit into 8 hours...that is going to be some crazy turnaround time for our stage hands. And that is not to mention we have all sorts of other stuff going on at the same time including free workshops, a 25 ft mural project and a hanging "art happening" or art installation, both of which are open to the public for participation. Nevertheless, we are confident in our plans and we just hope that people like what we have put together. We just have to remember, this is the "first annual" Urban Arts Festival, which means you never know...stay tuned (or just stop by!).

For more information on the Urban Arts Festival, visit: http://www.statetheatrenj.org/urban_arts. The State Theatre is located at 15 Livingston Avenue in New Brunswick, NJ. For information or to purchase tickets call 732-246-SHOW(7469) or visit http://www.statetheatrenj.org/.

Check us out on Twitter, Facebook, and Myspace.