To move or not to move

SARANAC LAKE – Pendragon Theatre might be on the move.

Pendragon’s artistic director, Karen Lordi-Kirkham, said the idea of relocating the theater has been tossed around for years, but now it’s being seriously considered. A grant-writing process has begun to get money for a feasibility study on the relocation of the theater.

Relocating the theater could help improve its presence in the community, but Lordi-Kirkham said it could also make the space more user-friendly and cost effective.

“Our space itself needs repair, and we got to the point where we had raccoons and we had a huge repair to do for that,” Lordi-Kirkham said. “So we started to question, if we’re going to keep dumping all of this money into this building that we’re going to have to keep repairing, does that even make sense?

“So we started thinking about what it would take to have a new space, and then we started to expand that into a larger vision.”

Lordi-Kirkham said North Country Community College President Steve Tyrell has proposed creating a performing arts program at the college, which would primarily use Pendragon’s theater during the winter months.

The problem is, the current building is not well insulated and is therefore expensive to heat in the winter.

“You can come in and heat it for a concert, or for a couple of days for a rehearsal, but that’s it,” Lordi-Kirkham said. “We’d really like to have a building that we can use in the winter in a real, sustainable way.”

Lordi-Kirkham said a new space would also expand the role of the theater in the community.

“Hopefully it would be a space where we could have other art groups be a part of,” Lordi-Kirkham said. “We’re really looking for more of a cultural artistic center, as well as a theater to provide a physical presence for the artists in Saranac Lake.”

Tyrell said he is excited the feasibility study is being looked at.

“I’d love to see a theater on our campus, because we don’t have that right now, but I’ll support it no matter where it goes,” Tyrell said.

Lordi-Kirkham said Tyrell’s support and NCCC’s possible performing arts program are examples of local groups helping each other. She said the village of Saranac Lake has also shown its support, and Community Development Director Jeremy Evans and Treasurer Paul Ellis are helping with the grant-finding process.

Lordi-Kirkham said most of the potential grant money requires a local match, so there will likely be fundraising efforts in the near future.

“We’re really looking for a lot of people to come together to support this,” Lordi-Kirkham said. “It’s still up in the air as to where the theater would go, but that’s why we’re doing the feasibility study.”

Contact Shaun Kittle at 891-2600 ext. 25 or