Dear Friends and MLT Supporters
The Firehouse Restoration Fund was established in 2000, shortly after Marblehead Little Theatre (MLT) purchased the former School Street Central Firehouse (located at 12 School Street, Marblehead, MA 01945) from the Town of Marblehead.
The challenge: raise enough money to convert the abandoned building into a performing arts center and the permanent home of MLT. The Firehouse is a historic building and MLT agreed to preserve its exterior as part of the restoration process.
Over the past twelve years MLT has raised and invested over $1.5 million in the 7,000 square foot Firehouse. The first effort was to make the building structurally sound. A new roof, all new windows, re-pointed bricks and two beautiful doors replicating the original Firehouse doors did the job. In order to get a permanent occupancy permit for the planned first floor theatre, MLT installed sprinkler and fire alarm systems throughout the building, bringing it up to the current “Public Assembly” code. At the same time the building was completely rewired. A new, efficient heating system was installed to serve the second and third floors and the cellar, and a modern, very quiet HVAC system was installed to serve the new Theatre on the first floor. Last but not least, two attractive handicap accessible bathrooms were constructed on the first floor.
In 2006 a new terrace was constructed to provide proper ADA access to the Theatre and enhance the entrance to the building. That same year a group of volunteers constructed a storage shed in back of the Theatre, and put a “Sound Down” floor on the second floor to reduce noise transmitted to the first floor.
A 3-stop elevator was installed in 2009 that allowed ADA access to the upper floors. They contain a rehearsal space equal in size to the Theatre stage area and a dedicated “classroom/studio” for the Children’s Theatre. The third floor stores MLT’s vast costume collection along with stage furniture, and also houses the building’s mechanical systems.
The dream of restoring this landmark building to its full beauty and to create a 92-seat performance space in Marblehead, available to arts organizations throughout the North Shore, was basically completed at the end of 2011. A new Vestibule Entrance was added to the front of the building that features a unique interpretation of the “Comedy and Tragedy” theme. The art was designed and developed by Marblehead artist Elaine Caliri Daly. Her clay model was enlarged to a 10’ wide by 2’6” high cold cast bronze installation.
The 12 boarded up hose tower windows were also replaced in the fall of 2011. The 11’ high units were replicated in Maine and installed with weatherproof frosted plexiglass behind the louvers to make the tower weather tight. A light system was installed and Marblehead boasts another “beacon in the sky”.
The Marblehead Little Theatre is well equipped with a modern theater lighting system and surround sound including HD projection capability.
One “wish list” project remains to complete the restoration project: a second floor bathroom to benefit the Children’s Theatre participants and actors preparing for a main stage production.
To make a contribution to the Firehouse Restoration Fund please do one of the following:
- Credit Card on-line - Click the "Donate" icon below
- Credit Card or Check by mail - Complete the MLT donor & sponsorship form and mail to MLT.
For additional information or questions about the Firehouse, please contact us
via e-mail at [email protected] or call our answering machine at 781-631-9697 and we will
return your call as soon as possible.