Damage to Muse Building fuels fundraisers for Crighton Theatre, local theater company

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The Muse Building, a roughly 3,000-square-foot space located next to the historic Crighton Theatre, has been condemned since heavy rains caused a portion of the roof to collapse Sept. 8. Owned by the Crighton Theatre, the building was being used by its resident theater company, nonprofit Stage Right.

Stage Right was displaced when the roof caved in because the debris and rain destroyed some tools and building supplies, Stage Right Artistic Director Carolyn Wong said. Since the incident, the crew has had to build large set pieces at their small off-site property and transport them to the theater, Wong said.

Despite the hardships that come with the damage, Wong said the roof collapsing has incentivized both Stage Right and the theater to kickstart fundraising efforts.

“The collapse of the Muse Building roof wasn’t quite a blessing to us in the short term, since we lost the space where we were building and storing our sets,” Wong said. “But, like the Crighton, it has pushed our efforts to get our own fundraising program going.”

The Crighton Theatre looks to implement a $1.8 million makeover, said David Hairel, board president of the Crighton Theatre Foundation. The foundation launched a fundraising campaign Nov. 7 via the online crowdsourcing page GoFundMe to raise funds to renovate the Muse Building and the Crighton Theatre.

Proposed renovations to the theater includes expanding the lobby into the Muse Building with a larger concession area, installing new audience seats, and implementing upgrades to technology and equipment, Hairel said. The renovation will also add bathrooms to the theater, which Hairel said are desperately needed.

“We have 33,000 people going through our facility every year,” Hairel said. “It takes forever [to use the restroom]. It impacts how long intermission is. It just wasn’t built for that many people, it’s woefully inadequate.”

Stage Right, on the other hand, plans to develop a multipurpose office space and warehouse building by expanding its existing property—located at 119 N. San Jacinto St., Conroe—onto three connected vacant lots it owns. Stage Right needs to raise at least $850,000 to build this facility, Wong said.

The planned 10,000-square-foot building will have two large rehearsal halls, space for costume storage and staging, a wood shop, a general office and reception space, Wong said.

The company is also working with the city of Conroe to lease out the building for senior citizens’ arts programs during the day.

“It would be kind of a win-win,” Wong said. “It would give active seniors who [are]looking for something to do the opportunity to share their creative talents with us, and it would help us get our costumes made and sets finished.”

To donate to the Crighton Theatre, visit www.crightontheatre.org; to donate to Stage Right Productions, visit www.stage-right.org.

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Kelly Schafler
Kelly Schafler is a reporter for the Conroe and Montgomery edition of Community Impact, covering public education, city government, development, businesses, local events and all things community-related. Before she joined Community Impact as a full-time reporter in June 2017, Kelly wrote business and dining features for CI as a freelance journalist.
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