The United is undergoing comprehensive renovations to both the original theatre, as well as the adjacent, connected former Montgomery Ward building to create a vibrant arts complex which includes multi-use venues and a world-class education center. As an organization, The United is working with other cultural, creative and education-driven organizations throughout the region to form partnerships which will position the space as a community center for the arts.
– The Space –
The United will provide Westerly with its first year-round venue for jazz, classical, opera, ballet, modern dance and popular music; it’s only centrally located gallery for visual artists; its first multi-screen art house cinema; flexible education space; and Westerly’s first comprehensive, professional community music school. The space will include a versatile black-box theatre created to accommodate up to 650 people for various uses, or be divided into two smaller spaces. The United will also include a 90 seat cinema for first-run and revival films, an art gallery, and a 30 seat flexible theatre, for use as a micro-cinema, gathering or exhibit space. The education center within The United will include 11,000 square feet of space for classes, workshops and studios in music, film, visual and performing arts. The education center will also be home to the Rhode Island Philharmonic Music School.
– Historic Preservation –
The United is a contributing member of the National Register of Historic Places listed as the Westerly Downtown Historic District. The Westerly Land Trust purchased the United Theatre in February of 2006 as part of their Urban Program which focuses resources on the redevelopment and enhancement of commercial properties in downtown Westerly, particularly those in areas of historic significance. In keeping with that focus, renovations of The United will protect and restore the historically significant architecture and affectivity of the beloved former theatre. One critical component to the restoration is the creation of a new marquee to be created for the front of the building, modeled after the original 1920’s vertical blade and canopy design which blew off of the building during the infamous hurricane of 1938.
– Sense of Place –
By partnering with public, private, not-for-profit, and community sectors, The United will serve as a catalyst in strategically shaping the physical and social character of the region around arts and cultural activities and educational initiatives.