By Travis Fortounas
A series of renovations have been completed at the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts as part of a five-year agenda set in place by a council of overseers. The renovations are part of a strategic plan to set the new direction of the theater.
The first project, which consisted of improvements to the concert hall, began in the summer of 2018. This upgrade will include an increase in the depth of the stage and a change to the theatre’s carpet and seats. These renovations are expected to bring in a larger audience and has the long term goal of attracting top stars to perform at Tilles.
“As a result of our vision, we have a need to upgrade our facilities as they relate to artistic, educational and customer experiences. Our facilities plan is prepared in an effort to address changes in the types and scale of performances presented at Tilles Center now and for the near future,” The Tilles Center’s Executive Director, William Biddle said.
Recently completed in October 2019, was the upgraded patio area to Tilles’ Castagna Plaza which consisted of a new brickwork installation. This course of work was paid for by a New York State grant, according to Biddle.
Upgrades to projection systems and the Krasnoff Theatre were completed in 2018. Near-term projects consist of the concert hall improvements, as well as upgrades to the Patron and Founder’s rooms. Changes which began in 2018 but are still ongoing are green room and dressing room renovations, as well as updated stage lighting. Steinway piano upgrades can also be noticed in the atrium, concert hall and Krasnoff Theatres.
Future plans for the Tilles Center include enlarging the stage loading door, which is expected to be completed in spring 2020, and the replacement of the orchestra shell, projected for completion in fall 2020.
Upgrades like these take a lot of time and money. All of the funding for these projects will come from private donations and grants given by LIU.
“We have raised $750,000 of private money and almost $200,000 in grants to help fund these projects,” Biddle said. The school plans to make this money back after all the renovations are done. Their hopes are to attract more students with additional performances and acts throughout the year.
“I am very excited about the renovations as they will help advance our reputation regionally and nationally as we increase the type and quality of the performances that we present. Additionally, we are providing current technology and upgraded performance spaces for our students and the community,” Biddle added.