Portland’s historic State Theatre to reopen

Posted May 26, 2010, at 4:59 p.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — The State Theatre, a historic venue in downtown Portland, will reopen this fall, after being closed for more than four years.

The Bowery Presents, a New York City-based independent promotion company, and Alex Crothers of Higher Ground Presents, based in Vermont, signed a deal with Stone Coast Properties to reopen the State. Lauren Wayne will serve as general manager and will oversee the extensive renovations still needed in order to bring the building back to usability.

The State, located at 609 Congress St., was shuttered in early 2006 after numerous fire code violations forced its closure. Before that, the theater played host to such diverse acts as Wilco, Modest Mouse, Gillian Welch, David Byrne, Interpol, Snoop Dogg, Ray LaMontagne, Sonic Youth, the Flaming Lips and Kings of Leon.

Built in 1929, the State originally could hold 2,300 people. When it reopens this fall, it will hold an estimated 1,450, give or take a few depending on the final decision from code enforcement officials. Renovation efforts began earlier this year, but the final fixes will be completed by The Bowery Presents and Higher Ground, in tandem with Stone Coast Properties.

The new partnership plans to restore the stage and modernize the venue with new sound systems, including work to the theater’s acoustics, and updating the lighting. The entire theater will also be reseated, creating new site lines, giving the audiences better views of the performers. In addition, there will be upgrades to the dressing rooms, new administrative offices, refurbishment of the bars and new carpet installed.

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