The Coachella Valley Repertory Theatre (CVRep) has found a new stage.
CVRep plans to raise $6 million over the next two years to purchase the property that now operates as the Desert Cinemas Large Format movie theater and redevelop it into a state-of-the-art, live performance playhouse. The two parties recently signed an agreement that gives CVRep an option to acquire the property.
The agreement will enable CVRep to move from its current rental space of an 86-seat venue at The Atrium shopping complex in Rancho Mirage to a permanently owned land and building 200- seat theater.
The need for more seating became apparent during this past season as CVRep reached a 95 percent+ full capacity during most plays leaving patrons facing sold out performances and an inability to buy tickets.
In addition, the redeveloped property will provide expanded space for CVRep’s conservatory, lobby, box office, special events, dressing rooms, and executive offices. The many technical upgrades planned for this new theater will also expand CVRep’s capabilities for mounting even more ambitious productions.
The transformation of this property from a movie theater to a live performance theatrical venue will also mark a significant milestone in Cathedral City’s plan to develop a successful cultural arts district in this highly traveled central location on Highway 111 and Cathedral Canyon Drive.
CVRep will add another anchor to the City’s municipal plaza corridor as the playhouse’s busy year-round calendar of productions, children’s outreach programming, special events, and classes draw a steady flow of both valley residents and visitors to Cathedral City.
The property, which operates now as Desert Cinemas, is owned by the City Urban Revitalization Corporation (“CURC”), a nonprofit public benefit corporation. CURC plans to operate the property as a movie theater until such time as CVRep exercises its option, purchases the property, and redevelops it into a live performance playhouse.
Under the leadership of founder and Artistic Director Ron Celona, CVRep has stage performances year round with their season of plays running from October through May. In addition, CVRep offers special events, such as this year’s summer cabaret and jazz series.
“We are excited by the opportunity this agreement with CURC represents,” says Gary Hall, CVRep’s board chairman. “CVRep has reached an inflection point in its successful evolution and we gratefully find ourselves in the position of having outgrown our current modest venue. We are looking forward to offering a full range of productions and special events in a state-of-the-art, 200-seat playhouse that is centrally located in the Coachella Valley.”
“Cathedral City began as a haven for the Arts and that tradition is even more apparent with today’s announcement,” adds Mayor Stan Henry. “With our cluster of world-class art galleries along Perez Road, the refurbished Mary Pickford movie theatre, the blossoming Festival Lawn, and now the addition of the live performing arts at the CVRep Theatre in our downtown corridor, there is no other place in the Coachella Valley that offers such exceptional Art venues.”