Benson Theatre to Launch B Side This Summer
The former Pizza Shoppe Collective space at 6058 Maple Street in downtown Benson will take on new life this summer as an arm of the Benson Theatre.
Benson Theatre Executive Director Amy Ryan said the nonprofit has leased the storefront and will use it as a second, smaller venue for programming, storage space and office space for theatre staff.
The B Side of Benson Theatre will have a 50-person capacity and will be available for rent by the theatre’s community partners as well as the general public. The venue will feature on-site catering equipment, a stage, a sound system and a gallery hanging system for art exhibitions.
“B Side will allow us to begin serving our community partners and the public as we continue raising funds for the renovation of the theatre space at 6054 Maple Street,” Ryan said. The nonprofit is more than halfway through its capital campaign.
Benson First Friday President Shelby Audiss said B-Side will be a prime spot in Benson for fundraising and events. “BFF is excited to collaborate with the Benson Theatre to have access to a space that is centrally located and able to accommodate a variety of events,” Audiss noted.
Under Ryan’s management as owner/operator of the Pizza Shoppe & Pub at 6056 Maple Street, the former Collective space hosted hundreds of private events, fundraisers, workshops, showcases and other creative performances until this February when Ryan sold the business to focus on her theatre duties full time.
Maggie Weber has been hired as the Benson Theatre’s event coordinator and will book B Side as part of her duties, Ryan said. To book an event or take a tour of the facility, contact Weber at Maggie@bensontheatre.org or 402.991.4333.
Ryan said B Side will undergo a minor renovation before it’s available for rent. The target opening is late summer.
In conjunction with the June 2 edition of Benson First Friday, tours of the theatre space at 6054 Maple Street will be given from 7:00 to 10:00pm. BFFers can also enjoy streetside performances by Aly Peeler, Valerie Anne Eisenbeisz (ElectricRadBolt) and Mike Schartiger (Earthbound and Down), and Sarah Lucinda Raven Smith will give tarot readings from 7:00 to 9:00pm.
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Make your pledge to the Benson Theatre’s capital campaign today!
Donations can be made online or mailed to:
Attn: Amy Ryan
P.O. Box 4972
Omaha, NE 68104
For more information, contact Benson Theatre Executive Director Amy Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About The Project
The Benson Theatre is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that fosters the success of artists, nonprofits, entrepreneurs, and underserved populations within the historic community of Benson in Omaha, Neb. Our goal is to restore the historic Benson Theatre at 6054 Maple Street to serve as a shared community space for business education and artistic performance. The theatre will offer independent programming and serve as an alternative stage in north Omaha for existing nonprofits, schools and performing arts organizations.
Built in 1923 as a vaudeville theater, the building is currently closed to public assembly and in need of a full renovation. The nonprofit purchased the building in September 2014 and is currently raising funds for the building renovation and the nonprofit’s early operating expenses.
Benson is a flourishing arts and entertainment district, and the timing to restore our historic theater and bring more diverse entertainment and vital business education to our community has never been better. Your tax-deductible donation will help preserve a historic landmark and support more educational opportunities for Benson and the greater Omaha community.
The theatre’s programming will include educational workshops and seminars during the day and entertainment in the evening. Our nonprofit will provide performance space and vital financial education resources not currently accessible in this urban area.
- Corporate-sponsored basic business, marketing and financial planning workshops for artists, philanthropists, entrepreneurs and underserved populations, including special needs groups and the impoverished
- Business education
- Marketing education
- Life and social skills
- Benson’s first 225-seat assembly theater
- Benson’s first community space for cinema and live theater
- Partnerships with performing arts organizations that will bring more diverse musical performances (including jazz, blues and opera) to Benson
- Vaudeville and comedic presentations
- Private events and fundraisers
- Student internships
- Volunteer opportunities for seniors and youth
The Benson Theatre first operated as the Benalto Theater from 1923 to 1926. From 1927 to 1953, the theater was part of a chain of neighborhood theaters owned by the Epstein Bros. It could originally seat an assembly of 400 for vaudeville performances, film screenings and community events. The Benson Theatre Project is working with Alley Poyner Macchietto Architecture and Lund-Ross Constructors to complete the historic renovation. Construction will include the following:
- New infrastructure systems, including electrical and HVAC
- Roof repairs/replacement
- Preservation of the original theater stage
- Reconstruction of the building’s original sloped floor
- Construction of a new projection booth and staff offices
- Reconstruction of the original theater lobby
- Use of energy efficient construction techniques and sustainable materials and equipment