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ESP’s Canterville Ghost plays to large crowd during first event in PAC’s Offutt Theatre

GLAF hosts inaugural event, which draws rave reviews from patrons

Patrons praised both the performance and the venue Sunday afternoon after Endangered Species Project’s presentation of the Canterville Ghost in the newly opened Performing Arts Center at Garrett College.

The $21 million facility hosted several small events – including the College’s Joan Crawford Lecture Series – last month in the center’s recital hall, but Sunday’s event was the first to use the Daniel E. Offutt III Theatre. Garrett Lakes Arts Festival (GLAF) – one of five founding partners supporting the new performing arts center – was the sponsoring organization for Sunday’s performance.

Patrons enthusiastically endorsed the PAC.

“What a wonderful facility – tremendous for the future of arts in Garrett County, especially for young people,” said Fred Fox, the incoming chair for GLAF’s Board of Directors. “In some ways it’s overdue – but it was well worth the wait.”

“The theatre was just beautiful,” said Oakland resident Kathy Coble. “It’s a wonderful place for people to come together.”

Photo by John Rudd

Garrett College Trustee Karen Myers, right foreground, talks with Garrett College Director of Campus Facilities Kathy Meagher, center foreground, and Seth Copley Sunday at the Daniel E. Offutt III Theatre. They were part of the crowd attending the Offutt Theatre’s first performance, The Canterville Ghost.

“It reminded me of the opera house in Venice, Italy,” said Don Coble, Kathy’s husband. “It had great acoustics and there was just a wonderful enthusiasm throughout the theatre.”

Oakland resident Mike Bello made a different comparison.

“I love it,” said Bello. “It reminds me of the Meyerhoff in Baltimore.”

Oakland resident Amy Mussen said the theatre’s finishings was both functional and attractive.

“The woodwork is striking,” said Mussen. “I know it’s for the acoustics, but it’s also unusually beautiful.”

Mary Mateer Cummings, executive director of both GLAF and the PAC, said the event provided a memorable opening for the facility.

“This is a dream realized,” said Cummings. “A home for GLAF – and a space to enjoy performances from our very talented Garrett County community as well as performances from outside our community.”

Dr. Richard Midcap, Garrett College’s president, praised the partnerships that created and will sustain the PAC.

“I’m so grateful to GLAF, Garrett County Public Schools, the Garrett County Arts Council and the Garrett County Commissioners,” said Midcap. “Our partners have made significant, long-term commitments to the PAC that will ensure performances like today’s remain accessible to Garrett County residents. This event is an important milestone for performing arts in Garrett County.”

Midcap noted the leadership provided by Kathy Meagher, GC’s director of campus facilities and security, in the design and construction of the new PAC.

“Kathy did an incredible job making sure the vision that developed for the PAC translated into this incredible facility,” said Midcap, who also recognized DLR Group for its creative architecture and Leonard S. Fiore, Inc., the general contractor for the project.

“I’m super-happy with the way everything worked out,” said Meagher, who previously oversaw design and construction of the College’s Offutt STEM Center. “Seeing our community input and the architect’s vision come to fruition – it’s a wonderful and satisfying experience.”

“I really hope the PAC’s users will be happy with the design,” said DLR’s Monika Smith, who attended Sunday’s opening performance. “We concentrated on creating flexible, accessible space. I’m excited to see how our design concepts work.”