Rebuild Robinson project receives state funding

Together, Colorado Mesa University and the State of Colorado are investing in the future of the performing arts

For over 50 years, the Robinson Theater has been home to music, theater and dance students, and has been a beacon for the local arts community. Over the decades, more than a thousand performances have brought joy, tears, laughter and a sense of belonging to the residents of western Colorado. While the theater has served the institution well, the campus and Grand Valley have grown, as has the demand for a state-of-the-art regional performing arts facility.

The university alone could not fund a new theater, which is why it was the University of Colorado Mesa’s number one request to the state. At the start of the 2022 legislative session, the Legislative Assembly’s Capital Development Committee reviewed funding requests for capital projects and sent a list of recommended priorities to the Joint Budget Committee (JCB), which included Robinson’s renovation.

On March 22, the JBC approved CMU’s request for $39 million to help rebuild the Robinson Theater. With the approval of the General Assembly and Governor Jared Polis, CMU now has the public funding needed to start the project.

“We appreciate the Legislature, the Joint Budget Committee, and Governor Polis for seeing the value in what we are trying to do, and for the work our community and supporters have done to help us cross the finish line.” , said CMU President John Marshall. . “This new theater will become a vital economic and cultural engine for decades to come in western Colorado.”

The funding, which is the largest lump sum CMU has ever received from the state, will allow the university to continue to develop as a regional cultural destination and significantly enhance the assets available to prospective students. in performing arts.

“Building a campus theater is one thing,” Marshall said. “What we are doing is building a regional gem that we hope will bridge some of the cultural gaps we see in our region and across the country.

“Building a campus theater is one thing. What we are doing is building a regional gem that we hope will bridge some of the cultural gaps we see in our region and across the country. – PRESIDENT MARSHAL

The Robinson Theater was originally built in 1968 as a 600 seat theatre. As CMU’s performing arts programs continue to grow, it is essential that the facilities that support the programs reflect the professional arena students will enter upon graduation.

“CMU students will soon have the opportunity to work with cutting-edge technology in a state-of-the-art building, preparing them for career advancement in a highly competitive and always innovative field,” said the Department of theater arts. Chief Mo LaMée.

Additionally, a strong performing arts program and exceptional theater will increase the cultural and financial well-being of the surrounding region. The new theater will be the only one of its kind between the I-25 corridor on the Front Range and Salt Lake City, allowing CMU to bring in touring companies and expand offerings for the area.

Plans for the new theater are still underway, but the venue will likely be designed as an opera house with full theatrical lighting, technical support and the ability to be flexible to accommodate a wide range of performances. Capacity will also increase to around 800-900 seats. The audience experience will also be enhanced with seats that allow for better visibility and better acoustics.

“The new theater will provide a high-level artistic experience for CMU’s student performers in the music and theater arts departments and our patrons,” said music department head Darin Kamstra, DMA. “This space will be acoustically designed to accommodate a wide range of performances ranging from theater to guest speakers and classical to popular music.”

“The new theater will provide a high-level artistic experience for CMU student performers in the music and theater arts departments and our patrons.” – Head of Music Department Darin Kamstra, DMA

While the university applied for and received $39 million in state funding, CMU will now have to raise the remaining amount through fundraising efforts.

“Thirty-nine million, plus CMU’s investment of an additional $5 million, will allow us to build a beautiful university theater. However, we are asking the community to help us take this project to the next level,” said CMU Foundation CEO Robin Brown. “By raising an additional $8 million in private funding, we can build a truly transformative performing arts center on par with the premier facilities that will make CMU a regional cultural destination.”

More information will follow regarding the project schedule and plans for CMU’s theater and music seasons for 2022-23. To learn more about the project and to help Rebuild Robinson, visit the website.


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