- Associated Press - Monday, March 30, 2015

DELPHI, Ind. (AP) - Names of performers of past line the wall behind the stage in the historic Delphi Opera House. Sara Daly Brosman, newly named executive director of the opera house, hopes people of today can soon add to that list.

Construction started at the opera house in early fall 2014 and will continue for the next several months. Brosman anticipates the venue will open in October 2015, with “grand” events and performances, depending on the timeline of construction.

Brosman, however, is confident the opera house will be completed in time and soon plans to start booking shows for the next few years.

“This building is going to be here,” Brosman told the Pharos-Tribune (https://bit.ly/1IDsd4L ). “We want to see it used. So we’re shooting for October and well beyond.”

Brosman said the opera house, located at 109 S. Washington St. in downtown Delphi, could host comedy groups, musical groups, local theater and traveling theater groups. She also said people could have weddings, receptions and reunions in the first floor banquet hall.

“It’s like this clean slate that we have coming into next year,” Brosman said.

The opera house opened in 1865 and closed in 1914 due to safety concerns, much due to a steep staircase which served as the only entrance. Now, the building has a safer and gradual sets of stairs.

Brosman said the stage and seating area, located on the top floor of the three-story building, induces an intimate setting due to the smaller size. She said that can provide more engagement with the audience. The third floor will also have a lobby and concessions.

The state awarded Delphi as one of the recipients of the Stellar Communities program back in 2012. About $2.5 million of that program’s grant money will go toward the renovation and a 10,000-square-foot addition - doubling the building’s size.

The second floor of the building will have office space, a multi-purpose room, dressing rooms and a green room. It’ll also have areas for historical archives of the opera house and the city, Brosman said.

The Delphi Preservation Society Inc. opened up the Delphi Opera House Art Gallery of Contemporary Art in 2009 on the first floor of the building. When construction began, the gallery was moved to the former United Methodist Church, now called the Delphi Opera House 2. That gallery will move back, along with future retail space, on the first floor of the opera house.

Anita Werling, chair of the Opera House Advisory Board, said there’s still about $800,000 to go in order to fully fund the $4.25 million renovation project. In May 2014, the board received $200,000 from the Jeffris Family Foundation once the nonprofit raised $400,000 in matching. She also said the opera house has received other sponsorship funds for a couple of its rooms.

“When (the opera house) is completely outfitted and people see those spaces,” Werling said, “history tells us that there will be a lot more donors who want to participate.”

Brosman, who had worked at the Delphi Public Library for the past 15 years, grew up in Delphi and has been invested in theater for years, including directing plays at Delphi Community High School and founded the Red Brick Community Theater and Stargazer Youth Theater programs at the library.

She had heard about an old opera house on the third floor of the building where her father worked as a store manager on the first floor, but didn’t think much of it at the time. A few years ago, however, she became more involved when talks began for renovating the space.

“I’ve always had a big interest in the arts, performing arts in particular,” Brosman said. “So my interest is seeing something like this really come to fruition and having a venue where people in the area can come and see some really great performances and having a community setting here.”

Brosman hopes the opera house will not only affect those living within Delphi and Carroll County, but bring people across the state and in other parts of the country to enjoy and take part in art and theater.

“I just want to have this to be a venue that’s going to add culture to the community,” she said.


Information from: Pharos-Tribune, https://www.pharostribune.com

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