Theater Production to Raise awareness of dying Opera House
Norfolk Opera House in Norfolk, Connecticut
Back in 1998 when I was living in the beautiful town of Norfolk, Connecticut I noticed there was an 1800's Opera House about to fall off a cliff right in the center of town. It sat across the street from Yale Universities summer music school. It had not been used since the 1950's where Christmas trees were sold but it was one of those amazing old ruins that you look at and ask the town why is this building not restored? So I went to work trying to find locals to help me buy and restore the building that was selling for only $50,000.! I even tried to pull together a Board of Directors but no one was remotely interested to help. So I set out to produce a winter play at the lovely Whitehart Inn In Salsbury, Connecticut. The owner of the Opera House gave me "right to first refusal", which meant I had the say as to who could purchase the lovely old building. So I produced a lovely production of the The Fourposter by Jon de Hartog.
I pulled together over a dozen antique dealers and vintage clothing collectors plus a wig specialist and horse and cart company, all to sponsor the production. Even the Whitehart Inn gave me full access to their main dining room and an ajoining motel room for my actors to use to get prepared for performances. It was wonderful, we had a fabulous turnout with rave reviewsapart from one negative comment re lighting since we had a no show by the person I had hired to do our lights and had to rely on the Obras and oil lamps on stage. My story was covered by the Litchfield County Times and a tri state paper and becuase of our efforts, we found buyers who ended up restoring the building for $2.2 Million dollars! It was then called Greenwood Theater and owned by the Smithies. The town of Norfolk was very grateful to me for my actions to save their Opera House. It now stands as Infinity Hall after the Smithies who had restored it lost it after a few years to the town. I had returned to Australia so was not made aware of the fact that it was up for sale. I would love to help save another theater one day but for my own use as a place for film festivals or theater festivals or both.