Like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon, the Mosesian Center for the Arts will reopen after closing for the Pandemic with a brand new look which will transform the lobby space into a place where patrons can spread their wings.
The arts center located in the Arsenal on the Charles is scheduled to reopen at the beginning of November, and more than a dozen events have been scheduled through the end of 2021, said MCA Executive Director Darren Farrington.
Visitors will notice that the twin stairway with a platform in between has been removed.
“The (old) lobby had a limited amount of space,” Farrington said. “You could go 10 feet after coming in the door.”
The new lobby features a cavernous space that will open up new opportunities.
“We will have art on the wall,” Farrington said. “We hope people stay down there and don’t have to go right to the seating in the theater.”
The second floor landing will also be expanded.
“We brought the floor out to give more lobby space on the second floor,” said Farrington, who added that visual art will be shown on that level, too. The first visual arts exhibit will be a members’ show, where anyone who has donated $25 or more can display a work of art.
Another change is the removal of the ticket office and office space on the first floor. The walls have been removed to allow for more gallery space. A desk will be built along the staircase where tickets can be purchased and patrons can get information.
The cafe will return in the same spot but with a bit of a new look.
Renovation of the MCA has been in discussion for a few years.
“It predates me. I’ve been here for 13 months now. In 2019 they started a five year plan,” Farrington said. “It included renovations, which they were looking to do in year four of five.”
Being closed for the pandemic allowed the construction to begin earlier. The designer is Sasaki, who worked with the MCA and the owners of the complex, Alexandria Real Estate Equities.
Work remains to be done on the MCA, but the installation of the drywall has started with hopes of finishing in the next few weeks. A ribbon cutting is planned for Nov. 10, with an opening reception for members on Nov. 11, and the first performance planned for Nov. 12.
“The teens of the Watertown Children’s Theatre are doing Mama Mia on the opening weekend,” Farrington said.
On Nov. 13 and 14, the community will be welcome to tour the new MCA.
For years, the primary tenant of the MCA was the New Repertory Theatre. In July, the company said it is pausing operations but hopes to be back. Farrington said he frequently communicates with members of the New Rep board, who are working toward returning for a 2022-23 season.
Meanwhile, the dates are being filled with productions by a variety of groups.
“We’re hoping to be able to fill (the schedule) this year. It is just a lot more work than previous years,” Farrington said. “Some companies have reached out to us. We are trying to bring patrons a variety of productions.”
The schedule so fare includes Mama Mia, two performances of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol in December, a pair of nights of comedy presented by the Ivy League of Comedy, and a concert of classical music fused with EDM and “the science of exoplanets,” which is part of the Multiverse Concert Series.
Farrington said all the performances will be on the Main Stage, and tickets for all seats will be available. Visitors will be required to follow COVID protocols.
“One of our requirements, along with many other theater venues, is patrons will have to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative test,” said Farrington, who added that the Town of Watertown requires people to wear face masks while in a public indoor space.
See more information about the Mosesian Center for the Arts at www.mosesianarts.org