Augusta, ME – Today, U.S. Senator Susan Collins, Vice Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, visited the Augusta Colonial Theater to see the plans for renovations and expansions made possible by the $1.5 million grant she secured in December as part of the Fiscal Year 2023 Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill. The theater, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2014, had previously been closed and vacant since 1969, falling into disrepair for several decades until it was saved from demolition.

The grant is allowing for the renovation of the 1,000-seat theater, making it wheelchair accessible, and the construction of an attached 2-level auxiliary building that contains expanded restrooms, adequate water supply systems, additional HVAC systems, a 200-seat multipurpose community theater, and space for classrooms and galleries. On the top floor, overlooking the Kennebec River, there will be an income-producing restaurant to provide self-sufficiency.

“Cultural institutions are part of the fabric of communities and enrich the lives of Mainers,” Senator Collins said. “Securing this grant has made it possible for the Colonial Theater to reestablish itself as a lively cultural center in the heart of Augusta for generations to come.”

The theater is set to become a vibrant hub for arts and culture in Augusta, offering an array of exciting events such as live performances, concerts, lectures, international streaming performances, and serving as the new home of the Kennebec Performing Arts (formerly the Augusta Symphony Orchestra). In addition, plans are underway to expand the existing Youth Theater and introduce a Senior Theater, both of which would make use of the newly expanded rehearsal and performance spaces.