EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

June 4, 2014

Theater plans to locate in North Andover

NORTH ANDOVER — If everything goes according to plan, ACT Theater will soon have a home of its own in North Andover.

The nonprofit theater company, which has presented many of its productions at the Collins Center at Andover High School, intends to establish its own facility at 1632 Osgood St. Charles Gracy, artistic director, and Mark Gracy, executive producer, operators of the company, appeared before the Planning Board last night to discuss their vision for the new performing arts center.

They were accompanied by Matthew Juros, the Haverhill architect who is designing the renovations. The theater will be located in a building that’s behind Osgood Landing, the huge edifice on Osgood Street (Route 125) that housed Western Electric for many years, then AT&T and Lucent for shorter periods.

The building at 1632 Osgood St. is now used by a blacksmith and a woodworker. Those businesses will not be displaced, Juros said. The theater is required to provide 60 parking spaces, but that will not be a problem, he said, noting that Osgood Landing boasts “a sea of asphalt.”

Renovations will include construction of a stage, dressing and storage rooms and workshops. Charles Gracy said they hope to open the theater by fall. They will be presenting Mel Brooks’ “Young Frankenstein The Musical,” he said.

ACT Theater presents both youth and adult productions. Besides performances, the facility will be used for theater and dance teaching sessions, set and scenery building and occasional fundraising events, the Gracys said.

The Planning Board continued ACT’s request for a special permit until June 17. Curt Bellavance, director of community development, said the performing arts center fits in well with the town’s vision for promoting commerce along the Route 125 corridor.

“It’s going to bring people there,” he said. Bellavance said he and other town officials have been working with ACT for the past year in the effort to get the performing arts center up and running.

Bellavance told The Eagle-Tribune he is pleased that the Gracys chose North Andover.

Planning Board members Richard Rowen and David Kellogg said they did not see any problems with the theater project.

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