ACORN MOVES INTO MECHANICS HALL
Plans call for a new performance space in a landmark Arts District building
Since leaving our space in Westbrook this spring, we have been hard at work trying to find a new home for our adult training programs. We are pleased to announce that we have reached an agreement with the Maine Charitable Mechanics Association (MCMA), the non-profit organization that owns and operates Mechanics Hall, located at 519 Congress Street, to complete the final stages of renovations to the third floor ballroom space so that the venue can be licensed for public performances. This partnership not only provides us with a new home, but also holds the potential of allowing us to reach a long-held goal of offering Naked Shakespeare performances for the public during the First Friday art walks. Under the terms of the agreement, Acorn plans to begin weekly Naked Shakespeare workshops at Mechanics Hall this fall while working with MCMA to raise the funds needed to meet required fire and safety codes in order to receive a public assembly license for the space. Once renovated, this new venue will be flexible and accommodate a wide variety of uses, including theatrical performances, musical concerts, grand balls, contra/folk dances, workshops, dramatic readings, lectures, and films, just to name a few. Portland is a city long on arts organizations but short on venues, and the location of Mechanics Hall in the Arts District means that the proposed 50 to 300-person performance space will be a cultural, social, and educational center for its members and the community. MCMA plans to restore the elegance of the space, while making it available to arts and culture groups at affordable rates. MCMA and Acorn have identified the work required to receive a public assembly license; a final push should allow the venue to open during the 2014/15 arts season. When the work is complete, the Mechanic’s Hall ballroom will provide a unique addition to the roster of performance venues in the Arts District—indeed, on the peninsula. It will be a fully-flexible room with unique historical features, a refinished wood floor suitable for dancers, and more open floor space than any other venue in the area.
Fundraising for the renovations begins this month
Check back soon for more details