Theater III Undergoes A Historic Renovation - See renovation pictures
Stacks Image 34
Article by Margaret Smith- Wicked Local- Acton News from the Beacon

WHAT'S GOING ON HERE -- Renovations under way at Theatre III in Acton

Work has started on the Theatre III building on Central Street West Acton, part of a long-term project to renovation the building.
The first phase of a comprehensive project to revamp the Theatre III building is under way, as contractors began last Friday with plans to replace rotted wood and rehabilitate the building’s steeple in a way consistent with its historic style, said Jamie Watt, chairman of the theater’s building and grounds committee. Watt said the project overall, slated to include work on both the building’s interior and exterior, will span four phases and cost a estimated $1.3 million, with main goals including improving handicapped accessibility and shoring up the building’s infrastructure against decay, water and insect damage. “Any old, historic building has a slope of decline,” Watt said. “When it gets very steep, water gets in and critters get in.” The first phase will cost an estimated $260,000, said Watt.
Stacks Image 35
The work is being done in collaboration with the Historic District Commission. Funds include Community Preservation funds as well as those raised through the theater’s fundraising efforts. Watt said the Acton Conservation and Preservation Commission will reimburse the theater up to $229,500. Watt said the current project phase is expected to be finished by the end of the year, and said work should not interfere with normal theater operations. He said rehearsals are ongoing for “Jekyll And Hyde,” which will mark the start of the theater’s 56th season in the fall.
The building opened in 1868 as a church for the West Society of the Universalists of Acton. It was sold in 1925 to West Acton Women's Club, which added a stage and dressing rooms, and then sold in 1955 to the Acton Community Center. Various groups using the center included the Little Theatre Workshop, Acton Chorus and Acton Dance Club, which came together to form Theatre III.
The theater restored all the windows in the building in 2009 at a cost of about $50,000. The project was supported by the Acton Conservation and Preservation Commission.
This is the first part of a multi-phase project to restore and preserve the building and to bring it up to full accessibility. We expect the full plan to take as much as  10 years to complete.
Stacks Image 36
The work is being performed by local companies; Blue Fin Construction with services of the Office of Michael Rosenfeld Architects. 
Stacks Image 37
This work is being done through a grant from the Community Preservation Committee and the citizens of Acton.  Special thanks as well to the Historic District Commission for there support and consultation.
Stacks Image 38
"We will be doing a LOT of fundraising for this project in all phases.  The overall cost will be in excess of $1.7 million.  Even with grants we will need to raise matching funds of up to $750,000 to cover our share. Nuncrackers is the first fund raiser, to be held Dec 9, 10, 11, with all proceeds going towards the project.  Other activities planned include a road race in February and an online auction in April.  Donations towards this project are tax deductible and can be made to Theatre III and mailed to the regular T3 address. 

This phase will include restoring the doors to era-appropriate wooden doors.  We will restore a transom window above the front entrance, add era-appropriate lighting at the doors, and repair the steeple with a new all white metal roof, as well as repair of exterior surfaces, painting, repair of foundations.  In the midst of the project we discovered significant wood rot in the support pillars at the front of the building that have taken additional time and resources, forcing us to postpone some parts of the planned exterior work."
Pam Furnace, Lead for the restoration/renovation/fundraising

Stacks Image 39