CATSKILL — The Bridge Street Theatre recently added artist housing to its repertoire.
In mid-October renovations on four rooms on the second story of the theater were completed with help from a state Block Grant through the Catskill Mountain Housing Foundation. Just two days after completion, four actors in the “Casse Noisette” ballet settled in.
“It was always in the back of our mind,” owner Steven Patterson said. “We wanted to create a home for ourselves.”
The former book depository had a small apartment on the second floor when Patterson and John Sowle bought it in 2013.
“We thought we would eventually turn it into artist housing,” Patterson said.
Now in the theatre’s fifth season of operation, that dream has become a reality.
“We received a 25 percent match from the Block Grant,” Patterson said, adding that the funding was about $75,000.
The project included adding four bedrooms, a kitchen, bathroom, small dining room and a common room upstairs, he said.
“For a theater to have the ability to house artists on site is huge,” he said. “It’s very attractive. Artists don’t have to commute.”
The theater has about nine months of programming throughout the year, Patterson said.
“For our bigger productions, there are very few times we aren’t using an outside performer,” he said. “Even for music groups, they’re often traveling very far for only one night.”
The venue is required to provide housing to performers who have to travel more than 50 miles, Sowle said.
“This offers us a lot more flexibility in terms of who we can cast,” he said.
The project is not quite complete, Patterson noted.
“We will be improving our emergency exiting and the front doors in the lobby over the winter,” he said. “It’s an ongoing project.”
In the future, Patterson said he would also like to have housing downstairs that is compliant with the American Disability Act.