Bowery Goes To Maine

Jim Glancy’s Bowery Presents has made yet another expansion outside the New York area.

This time, the historic State Theatre in Portland, Maine, is getting a second lease on life thanks to a recent deal between Bowery, Alex Crothers of Higher Ground Presents and Stone Coast Properties.

The venue opened in 1929 and went through incarnations as a movie house and performing arts and concert venue before closing in 2006 because of code violations.

Local industry vet Lauren Wayne will serve as general manager and lead the charge booking the State Theatre. She said in addition to a restored ceiling and new fire escapes to bring the theatre up to code, the building is undergoing extensive upgrades to reopen as a world-class venue.

“We’re going to rebuild the stage, we’re updating the lighting, we’re going to install a top-of-the-line sound system and we’re going to totally reseat the theatre,” she told Pollstar.

The former tenant ripped out all the seats, making the entire venue general admission, which Graham said didn’t work out very well.

“We’re going to reseat and then hopefully have a GA pit in the very front that’s sunken down so the people behind the GA people will be able to see,” she said. “So there’s not a bad sight line in the theatre.”

Behind the scenes, the building is getting new administrative offices and updated green rooms and dressing rooms.

While Crothers had booked some shows in northern New England previously, the new venture marks the first time Bowery Presents is stepping into Maine, which Wayne attributed to the beauty of the historic building and the spirit of the city itself.

“It’s such an intimate venue,” she said. “It’s 1,450 capacity but you feel like you’re right there with the artist for shows. It’s a great experience.”

Glancy, who recently expanded Bowery to Boston, signing a long-term agreement with Royale Nightclub, agreed.

“Until Alex brought us this opportunity, we hadn’t envisioned expanding into Maine,” he said in a statement. “But once we visited Portland and toured the State Theatre, we fell in love with the city and saw the potential in the theatre that will appeal to Portland’s creative community.”

Another component of the agreement will include options to book other venues and festivals in the area and develop marketing and partnership opportunities, the companies said.

The venue is scheduled to open in the fall and the group expects to bring a diverse lineup of roughly 80 artists per year to the theatre.