Opal Theatre to get a facelift

While the turn over from summer to fall usually means it gets a bit darker a bit earlier, passersby on Main Street will notice more light near the Opal Center. 

The theatre, located at 513 Main Street, will be undergoing a facelift, expected to be completed by early fall. 

“What we’re doing is, we’re redoing the façade of the Opal Center to make it fit better with downtown as well as something more representative of Opal itself because it's the theatre and art space,” said Opal Center board member and director Lance Troxley. 

The transformation will include a brand new marquee sign with light up letters spelling out Opal as well as changes to the exterior windows. According to Troxley, the windows will be more representative of the windows that the building would have had originally. 

“We’re going to remove the gable that’s there now,” Troxley said. “Right now, it feels very kid-ish and we have a whole range of events that absolutely include kids but also adults from some of our serious plays and during the holiday season.” 

Opal, one of two theatres in Cottage Grove, hosts several plays and workshops throughout the year including dance classes from Dancability—a group dedicated to including all body types and abilities in dance. It also hosts Storybook Theatre, a week-long camp for high school students that centers around college-level theatre classes and culminates in a showcase for a private panel of professionals, followed by a community show. 

The owner of the building, according to Troxely, is funding much of the project and the board is looking for additional funding options through the city. 

“I think it’s going to put a much more accurate face on Opal and reflect the vibe of what we do at Opal,” Troxley said. “And it will, hopefully, pique interest with the cool marque letters.” 

The project has just received the greenlight from the historical commission and is currently collecting bids. It’s expected to be complete this fall. 

Opal Exeutive Director Leah Murray said of the project, "We are very excited for the upcoming changes to the front of Opal's side of the Lawson Building. Not only will the improvements bring back some of the historic charm, but our new signage will help us stand out on Main Street to locals and tourists alike. Downtown Cottage Grove is really coming to life and we are thrilled to be a part of it."

The project joins a slew of new projects on Main Street with the Stewart Building undergoing a transformation that includes the incorporation of its original “The Club” sign. The building will eventually feature apartments upstairs and business space on the ground floor. 

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