The Concord Players

FOPAC: Friends of the Performing Arts in Concord

The 2006 Stage Floor Renovation Project

The Project

The wooden floor of the drama stage at 15 Walden Street, home of FOPAC, needs to be replaced. The surface has been chewed up from 84 years of heavy use. There are holes from an old heating system. There are gaps that will trip a dancer or actor. The floor has a gentle theater rake but the rake is now bowed making construction of level sets very difficult.

Currently the stage floor looks like this:


The problem with the structure:


Analysis of the drama stage floor was conducted by a structural engineering firm in June of 2004. They concluded that the original wooden stage built in 1922 does not meet current Massachusetts code for weight bearing capacity. In some areas the floor is more than 100 pounds per square foot UNDER the code.

Therefore in order to ensure the safety of the performers and adhere to current code, we need to make the required structural repairs to the floor.

The Green Room, dressing rooms and bathrooms are directly beneath the stage floor. To make the structural repairs to the stage floor all the rooms beneath the stage will have to be completely stripped to the framing. Thus, we will need to renovate the whole area under the stage once the structural repairs are done.

Fortunately the current Green Room and dressing rooms are also badly in need of renovation.

The Green Room and dressing rooms today:


The Green Room renovated

gr sketch

The Cost

The cost for the entire project is approximately $250,000, and our goal is to complete the work during the summer of 2006 to be ready for the 87th season for the Concord Players.

We are thrilled with the recent news that the Concord Community Preservation Committee (CPC) has voted to recommend that our request of $60,000, nearly one quarter of this entire $250,000 project, be put on the warrant for next April's Town Meeting.  With the support of the CPC, which recognizes the historic value of 51 Walden as well as the cultural activities it provides to the community, we believe that the article will be approved by the voters at Concord’s Town Meeting.  However, this is a matching funds appropriation, and so to receive the full amount, we need to raise at least $60,000 by this spring.

As of March 20, 2006 we have raised almost $40,000 from a mailed appeal to our community of theater goers. But, to reach the full $250, 000 we have a long way to go.

The History of 51 Walden

51 Walden Street is an important, culteral, arts facility in Concord and it is a wonderful resource for our community. It has a long and distinguished history. It has served the town well in many capacities over many years.

It was built as an armory in 1887 by the town and used by military companies for many years. Damaged by fire in 1912, the town repaired the structure in 1920 and renamed it The Veterans Building. The Concord Players were founded in 1919 and a theatrical stage was constructed in 1922 made entirely of wood.

Friends of the Performing Arts in Concord (FOPAC) was incorporated in 1972 and charged to renovate the building and operate it as a center for the performing arts hosting countless events for our community. You may have enjoyed performances by one of the FOPAC groups in residence—the Concord Players, the Concord Band, or the Concord Orchestra. Since 1972, hundreds of residents have participated in these performances and audiences have numbered in the thousands. Someone in your family may have taken dance lessons in the studio upstairs or attended a concert put on by one of many of the visiting musical groups. This facility is an extraordinary resource for our town.

FOPAC and the resident groups have gone well beyond their responsibilities under the terms of the lease from the town concerning maintenance and upkeep of 51 Walden. In the mid-1970s the Players built a workshop behind the stage to construct scenery and work on sets. The Orchestra installed acoustical panels for the music stage as well as a reverberation enhancement system to improve the building for musical performances. FOPAC funded the renovations of the public rest rooms, and in 1999, the Players and FOPAC raised funds to reinforce the proscenium arch and replace the grid and counterweight system on the stage.

It is a treasure to be maintained and preserved carefully for the benefit of future generations

What you can do to help

Now we seek your help. This is only the second time in the history of FOPAC and the Players that we have appealed directly to the public for financial support. Think hard about what 51 Walden means to out community.

Please be as generous as you can be in support of this important project.

(we need to write a section here on how to contribute)