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Opening gala showcases Batavia Players' new theater on Harvester

(Please note additional information added on Jan. 10 below the story and pictures.)

Ever since he was a 10-year-old boy putting on plays with his friends in the basement of a church -- with no audience but themselves -- Patrick Burk dreamed of having his own theater.

"I asked my grandpa for $500 to set up a theater in Mumford," Burk said. "Because for some reason I thought that was how much it would cost."

Grandpa said no, so he had to wait 44 years.

Fast forward to the present day: Burk is board president for the Batavia Players, which are 95 percent finished establishing their new theater in the historic Batavia Industrial Center on Harvester Avenue (see last year's story for background information).

An opening gala was held at the new theater last night. Attendees got to tour the grounds, listen to some music, and enjoy some refreshments. 

Burk is pictured above, addressing those in attendance from the stage of the three-quarter round theater. He said that while there is still work to be done, "we did pass inspection (which is a big deal in Batavia)."

This met with laughter and applause.

The following are pictures of the new theater space, including the black-box stage, the costume storage room, meeting room (where actors can gather to rehearse) and refreshment room.

There is also a box office at the front of the building.

By all accounts, this was (and still is) a labor of love. A total of roughly 30 volunteers spent, according to Burk, "literally hundreds of hours" -- sometimes working from 8 a.m. until midnight -- to convert this industrial space into what it is now.

Just to give you an idea of how much work was required in this endeavor, here are a couple pictures of a part of the building resembling what the space looked like before:

The first performance set to take place at the new theater is "Love Lines," a play that Burk wrote himself. 

"It consists of a series of vignettes dealing with how different people have experienced falling in love," Burk said.

Characters range from Nancy Reagan to Burk's own parents, and from couples who write love letters to one another for years to couple's who don't even know one another until they've gotten married.

Performances are set for Feb. 11-14.

"Love Lines" will be followed by:

  • Shakespeare's "The Tempest," set to be performed March 17-19
  • "Rent," May 19-21
  • "On Broadway" -- featuring music from "The Lion King," "Aida," "Sweeney Todd" and "Spring Awakenings" -- June 23-25
  • "Cats" Aug. 18-20
  • "Three from Tennessee" Sept. 15-17
  • Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" Dec. 14-16.

APPENDIX: The Artisan Center

The new theater is part of Harvester's Artisan Center, which is home to others with similarly artistic interests. Some of them were at the gala last night, including:

Susan Meir, of Susan Meier Photography

Colin Dentino, of En Garde Fencing.

(UPDATE Jan. 10): Some of our readers had questions after reading Thursday's, "Opening gala showcases Batavia players' new theater on Harvester."

Here's some more information:

  • Seating/Capacity: The new theater seats between 100-140 people.
  • Ticket prices: These will vary depending on the show. The first play to be performed in the Harvester location will be an Honesty Theatre performance (click here for more information on this group) on Jan. 22; admission will be $10 per adult, $8 for children and seniors.
  • Theater hours: At this time, according to Batavia Players' Board President Patrick Burk, the space is only open for rehearsals and performances. Burk hopes, eventually, to have people working there "around the clock" on various projects. 
  • To read more about the new theater space, visit www.bataviaplayers.org/new-theater-space.
jason reese
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Great idea. With Genesee Community College having the only theater in Genesee County, having a Theater in the city of Batavia, is a great idea. Harvester Ave is a great and easy location to find. Now its up to the theater community to draw in fans and make it work. Good luck.
Dan Gross
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Indeed a great idea! What's the capacity? A smaller space like this might be one that other groups might look to rent out for performances/etc.
rythmtaz@yahoo.com (not verified)
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So happy for everyone associated with the Batavia Players! They put on great shows every year, work with hundreds of youth and make our little town a little richer! Congrats!
Bea McManis
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Congrats, Patrick. I couldn't attend, but was with you in spirit. Best of luck.
Lorie Longhany
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Nice, Patrick -- very very nice. So happy that your dream has come true and that the city has an opportunity for an economic and cultural boost.
Jamie Fragnito
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Joined: Nov 3 2008
Congratulations Pat! Can't wait to see some of the upcoming shows! How many seats are in the audience? Is the theater open during the day so I can come take a look, I'm sorry I was unable to make it to the grand opening. Good luck with everything!
Randy Smart
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Joined: Jun 24 2010
Any info on ticket prices/box office info/website?
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