Topsham arts center to hold renovation fundraiser

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TOPSHAM — With as much as $100,000 in long-term capital needs projected for the Orion Performing Arts Center, the theater coordinator hopes a fundraiser next month will put a dent in the goal.

The theater, built as part of Mt. Ararat Middle School in 2001, will hold “Dining for a Cause” at the 99 Restaurant & Pub, 34 Topsham Fair Mall Road, 3-10 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 2.

Participants are asked to obtain vouchers at the school or via orionperformingartscenter.org, and bring them to the restaurant for lunch or dinner. The restaurant will in turn donate 15 percent of the bill – alcohol not included – to the Orion’s capital needs fund.

New LED lighting and sound systems, as well as curtain improvements, are on the theater’s to-do list in the coming years, Orion Coordinator Judy Lloyd said in an interview Jan. 20. A new stage surface, which cost about $18,000, was installed in 2014; that’s part of the rough $100,000 price tag, along with a $3,700 back wall curtain installation that’s been completed.

The theater will this spring or summer put in a rope system and proscenium curtains that cross the front of the stage and close in the center.

Lloyd is still figuring numbers for the lighting and sound system, noting that funding them “is a long-term goal, and one project at a time we will update the theater.”

The theater has so far raised about $30,000 to fund those projects.

The Orion also will kick off a raffle at the 99 Restaurant dinner. Tickets are $1, or six for $5, for items such as a $25 gift certificate at The Music Center, tickets to a Portland Sea Dogs game, signed photos of Red Sox player Pablo Sandoval and Patriots player Nate Solder, two tickets to a Midcoast Symphony concert, and a basket of Red Claws items. The raffle runs through March 22, at which point the drawing will be held at the time of a middle school band concert.

Contact Lloyd at lloydj@link75.org or call 729-2950 ext.7 for more information, or to rent the Orion.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

The Orion Performing Arts Center in Topsham is holding a capital needs fundraiser in concert with the 99 Restaurant & Pub on Thursday, Feb. 2.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.