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Can The Hanover Theatre Help Spark Worcester’s Downtown?

Friday, October 10, 2014


The Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts has finalized a purchase of a vacant, three-floor former office building with street level retail space on 551 Main Street, a move that is expected to influence both the theatre district in Worcester as well as the downtown economy.

Only time will tell if the newly acquired building can help bolster the downtown economy and vitality – a project that members of the city have been trying to figure out for some time now – but the theatre’s CEO is certainly doing everything he can to assist.

“Our goal is to develop the theatre in ways that serve the greater community,” said Troy Siebels, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Hanover Theatre. “We look forward to working with our charitable partners and others to bring even more vitality to Worcester’s downtown and theatre districts.”

The Hanover Theatre opened on March 14, 2008 after a community-based fundraising campaign. The theatre draws in 180,000 patrons annually with a variety of Broadway hits, comedians, musical acts, and more.

Providing the Spark

While a theatre has bought out the space, the newly purchased space has plans to benefit many throughout the community.

Plans for the building currently include: space for youth, education, and outreach programs; public function space, and office space to make theatre operations more cohesive. There are also plans for a lease option on the ground floor, which has a restaurateur negotiating for the space.

“The acquisition of the building and our plans for the space represent transformative steps in the development of the theatre and the theatre district,” said Siebels. “This effort is in keeping with several of our key mission points and strategic goals. It will support the ongoing revitalization of our downtown and theatre districts, help build sustainability through diverse revenue streams, and create access to the performing arts for young people who might otherwise not have the opportunity.”

Local Support

The Hanover Theatre has been beyond grateful in the outpouring of local support in fundraising, funds that Siebels and those involved hope to use to turn their establishment into a “first class theatre environment that enriches our community and its residents.”

The Hanover Insurance Group Foundation is on of many local organizations stepping up in order to help expand the Hanover Theatre to help improve the theatre district and Worcester’s downtown area by making a $700,000 challenge grant to the fundraising effort. For every two dollars contributed, Hanover has pledged to contribute an additional dollar, hoping to attract an addition $1.4 million in funding.

Other key contributors to date include: McDonough Charitable Foundation ($500,000), The George Alden Trust ($350,000), The Stoddard Charitable Trust ($300,000), Jeanne Y. Curtis Charitable Trust ($100,000), and The Fred Harris Daniels Foundation ($50,000).

“We’re very proud to play a role in the continued growth and development of The Hanover Theatre,” said Frederick H. Eppinger, president and chief executive officer of The Hanover Insurance Group. “Our hope is that this incentive grant will encourage others to provide even more support to economic development efforts in the city and make high-quality performing arts mo


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