Potential new performing arts venue in Lake Charles

Published: Jan. 4, 2022 at 7:56 PM CST
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - The hurricanes served as a catalyst for getting plans in the works for a centralized performing arts venue. A new board has come together in Lake Charles in hopes of getting the ball rolling.

The Live Arts Venue Alliance (LAVA), with a board of five members, is coming together in hopes of revitalizing performing arts in Lake Charles - something that helps preserve and promote the culture of Southwest Louisiana.

LAVA invested in creating a venue for the theater group in Lake Charles that has “essentially been made homeless” after the storms. Buildings like the ACTS Theater and the Little Theater of Lake Charles that once hosted performances are now damaged.

“The Calcasieu Parish Police Jury developed a priority list of recovery projects post-hurricane, and a central performance venue is on that priority list,” LAVA President Randy Partin said.

Partin said if you parallel what is provided for recreational activities like parks, athletic complexes and gyms, there’s not much of a space for people who have other interests.

“There’s a portion of the population that doesn’t identify with this type of activity and it’s typically performing arts,” Partin said. “Whether it’s music or dance or theater - pick any of those - it’s an underserved section of the community.”

LAVA hopes to fulfill the need for a centralized and public performance arts venue with a building structured for production flow.

“An organization could come in - first into a scene shop, transition the set into the rehearsal space, rehearse it there for two to three weeks - and then move on to the performance stage. Then perform there for however long they need,” Partin said.

In preliminary structure plans, the building is estimated to cost near $7 million. Partin said a portion of disaster aid could potentially help fund some of this project.

“As outlined in the CPPJ 137 page priority document, a portion of a federal disaster relief fund that could result in up to $16 million dollars earmarked for the cultural needs in SWLA could be the windfall the theater community needs to move forward with this desperately needed facility. The money will be allocated to several different projects, so the exact amount is not decided,” LAVA said in a statement.

There’s not a set location for the venue yet, but LAVA has considered the lakefront and property adjacent to the Little Theater, among other locations, around the city.

For updates on the project, you can follow along on the LAVA Facebook page.

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