Back to projects West Shore Theatre Program Used: Tourism Product Development Grant Program Used: Tourism Product Development Grant Description: After a four-year closure, the West Shore Theatre in New Cumberland celebrated its re-opening with an open house on May 7, 2022. The $2.5 million project was made possible in part with grants from the Cumberland Area Economic Development Corporation and donations from individuals and businesses. The nonprofit Friends of the West Shore Theatre group led the fundraising effort and oversaw the renovations designed to restore the interior to the look and feel approximating its construction in 1939 with the addition of modern amenities such as a new, up-to-date digital projector, stage lighting, and upgraded video and audio equipment. The Friends group also sought to add a thrust stage to accommodate small-scale theatrical and musical performances. The theatre now seats 200 people and serves as a cinema house and performing arts venue that can host concerts, performances, plays, various community events, and private parties. In addition to traditional and theatre-style seating, restaurant-style booths line either side of the space, and there is a standing lounge area with high-top tables behind the new state-of-the-art concession stand. According to Dustin LeBlanc, Managing Director, the upgraded facility will “provide big-time entertainment and small-town charm.” CAEDC awarded the Friends of the West Shore Theatre a $100,000 Tourism Product Development Grant in 2019 to cover costs associated with the sound system, stage lighting, theatre lighting, the concession area, stage and stage extension, projection room, and curtains and decorations. CAEDC also oversaw grant execution and program compliance for a $650,000 Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) award received by the Friends group in 2020. The funds provided by the RACP award helped to cover the cost of the substantial renovations required to revive and re-purpose this vital community asset, including selective demolition, concrete work, masonry, extensive finishing and millwork, plumbing, HVAC, and electrical improvements. The West Shore Theatre opened on January 20, 1940, with the showing of “The Secret of Dr. Kildare.” It was a community icon and served as an arts and culture anchor for the West Shore until its closure in December 2017. The theatre’s re-opening is integral to New Cumberland’s downtown revitalization efforts. Plans for Phase II updates are already underway and include an annex behind the theatre that will house a green room, dressing room, storage area, and catering kitchen.