Home Wayne Theatre to build music and technical resource center; requests $5M grant from state
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Wayne Theatre to build music and technical resource center; requests $5M grant from state

Crystal Graham
music recording studio
(© WOW Images – stock.adobe.com)

The Wayne Theatre envisions turning a downtown building in Waynesboro into a music center with learning labs, an outdoor stage and resources that focus on instrumental and technical training.

Behind the scenes, the Wayne Theatre Alliance has been discussing ideas for a donated building next door to the theatre at 531 W. Main St. for more than a decade. In the last two years, the idea has begun to take shape with architectural designs and cost estimates for the project, an extension of the already successful Wayne Theatre.

The Wayne Theatre is potentially one step closer to realizing its dream after Waynesboro City Council members voted Monday night 4-0 to support an application for the Wayne Theatre to seek a grant of $5 million from the state through the Department of Housing and Community Development. Mayor Lana Williams was not present at the meeting.

The grant application does not include any financial commitment from the city. However, the city or Economic Development Authority must oversee the application and manage the funds, if awarded.

“We are immensely grateful to the City of Waynesboro for their continuing support of the music and technical resource center to be located in a new space at 531 West Main Street,” said Tracy Straight, executive director of the Wayne Theatre.

The 531 W. Main St. building was donated to the Wayne Theatre. The Wayne Theatre Alliance had its first offices there and rented space to tenants including a hair salon, paving company and dozens of other small businesses. The building eventually closed, and WTA offices were moved next door to 533 W. Main St.

The overall project cost of the music center will be $10 to $12 million, and the Wayne Theatre and its developer would be required to raise funds to match the state grant. The decision on grant funding will likely come in December, Straight said.

“The excitement that we’ve seen for this new center is so inspiring,” said Straight. “It’s been a strongly-held dream of ours to help provide enrichment opportunities that not only bolster enthusiasm for music, but also allow for people to explore their own musical talents. This new space will help us to realize this dream.”

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.