Portland’s State Theatre to reopen in fall

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PORTLAND — The Bowery Presents, an independent promotion company based in New York City, and Alex Crothers of Higher Ground Presents, an independent promoter and a fixture in the New England music scene, have signed a deal with Stone Coast Properties to reopen the State Theatre.

The new partnership expects to book about 80 shows a year, with a cross-section of live music from diverse performers.

Music industry veteran and Portland local Lauren Wayne will as general manager be in charge of booking the venue, with shows slated to begin this fall.

The historic theater at 609 Congress St. has been closed since 2006. The Bowery Presents/Alex Crothers partnership will continue upgrades started by Stone Coast Properties.

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Recent renovations include electrical work, relocating restrooms, ceiling refurbishments and ensuring the venue is code compliant. The new partnership plans to restore the stage and update the sound systems and lighting. The entire theater will also be reseated, giving audiences better views of the performers; seating capacity is expected to be 1,450. There will be upgrades to the dressing rooms, new administrative offices, refurbishment of the bars and new carpet installed.

In addition to the State Theatre, The Bowery Presents/Alex Crothers partnership will explore options to book other venues and festivals in the area.

The State Theatre opened on Nov. 8, 1929, and was designed in a semi-atmospheric/Spanish style with an original seating capacity of 2,300. It operated as a first-run movie house until the late-1960s, when it became a porn theater. In 1989, the theater closed and fell into disrepair. It was restored in the mid-1990s. It closed for a brief time after the restoration and was later reopened by new owners as a performing arts and concert venue.

The State Theatre hosted such diverse acts as Wilco, Modest Mouse, Gillian Welch, David Byrne, Interpol, Snoop Dogg, Ray LaMontagne, Sonic Youth, John Hiatt and Kings of Leon before it closed in early 2006.

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