The Fairfield Theatre Company has a lot to celebrate. Just one year ago, the dream of creating a world-class performing arts center in the beautiful town of Fairfield became a reality. The Warehouse, once a machine shop that sat unused for years, was transformed into a state-of-the-art performance venue. More than 30,000 people experienced the magic of live music, theatre, dance, comedy, film and numerous other events in The Warehouse this past year.
The 640 capacity venue first opened its doors on September 17, 2015. Since then, over 75 events have been held in the space with 34% of concerts being sold to capacity. The direct economic impact the venue makes on the local community is substantial. Based upon research from Americans for the Arts, every ticket buyer spends approximately $25 in surrounding businesses when attending a show. This equates to an additional $750,000 in direct spending at surrounding businesses by FTC patrons.
Local restaurants are reaping the benefits of big-name artists coming into town. Robbie Cooper, general manager of Brick + Wood is ecstatic with their dinner, late-night, and pizza truck turnout, saying, “we know that extra staff is needed for dinner and the bar on any given night when there is a show in the Warehouse. People that come in are always excited for a big night on the town and we’re pleased to have the opportunity to fill the restaurant with concert-goers. We truly love working with the amazing team at FTC.”
The Warehouse has rapidly become a Northeast destination. General Manager of Uber Connecticut, Matt Powers states:
We’re excited about our partnership with the Fairfield Theatre Company precisely because a venue like The Warehouse has quickly become an essential cultural and artistic hub in the town. The Warehouse has proved itself to be a popular destination among riders, and our partnership with FTC helps ensure that patrons can enjoy an affordable, seamless experience to get to and from their show.
Just a year ago, the Warehouse opened its doors with a high-energy, sold out performance by Rusted Root. Since opening night, there have been 58 live music concerts from some of the most popular artists in the country, including Blue Öyster Cult, the Revivalists, Tom Tom Club, Leon Russell, Marshall Tucker Band, the Lone Bellow, Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn, David Cook, Trevor Hall, Jason Mraz, the Samples, Yonder Mountain String Band, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, and Donavon Frankenreiter. In addition to live music, the Warehouse has become the go-to venue to go for film, theatre, cultural events, private events, and nonprofit fundraisers.
The FTC team of professional staff, volunteers, and supporters has grown significantly to keep up with the demanding pace of productions. FTC Producing Artistic Director John Reid states:
The programming has increased to the point where we often host events in both venues simultaneously. Without the hard work of our staff, board members, volunteers, sponsors, and supporters, this would be an impossible feat. This dedicated team is truly committed to making the Warehouse and StageOne the premier destinations for the arts in our region.
As FTC celebrates the first anniversary of the Warehouse, plans are underway to complete the final phase of the vision of what has become a cultural hub in downtown Fairfield. This includes increasing the number of dressing rooms and expanding the green room to create a more welcoming and usable space for performing artists, relocating and refurbishing staff offices, and creating rehearsal studios to support the ongoing educational efforts such as FTC’s Saturday Morning Kids program.
It has been an outstanding first year for the Warehouse and the Fairfield Theatre Company looks forward to a bright future, preserving and promoting artistic and cultural expression in the community. In the words of ol’ Blue Eyes Frank Sinatra, “the best is yet to come.”