© 2024 St. Louis Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Rolla’s Ozark Actors Theatre will get a $1.3 million makeover on its downtown building

Ozark Actor's Theatre's Pine Street Studio in downtown Rolla will get a $1.3 million renovation, thanks to a state grant.
Jonathan Ahl
St. Louis Public Radio
Ozark Actor's Theatre's Pine Street Studio in downtown Rolla will get a $1.3 million renovation, thanks to a state grant.

The professional theater company in Rolla is getting a $1.3 million grant from the state to renovate its downtown building in an effort to bring more arts collaboration to the rural community.

Ozark Actors Theatre will use the money to create spaces to expand into other art forms outside of theater.

“We could have a staged reading there, we could have an art show there. We could do something with Rolla Technical Institute’s culinary institute and match snacks with the stories that are being told,” said Managing and Education Director Suzanne Withem.

The recently acquired downtown location on Pine Street will also house improved rehearsal space and costume and scenery shops.

Withem said the collaborative space will help OAT develop and cultivate the local arts scene in all forms.

“It really is going to take a community effort to make that happen to find all these people with all these different skills and by just inviting artists to come together to be in a collaborative space together. I think we're going to start to see some of those sparks fly,” Withem said.

The grant was one of two dozen awards totaling $30 million from the Missouri Department of Economic Development to help local tourism efforts that are still looking to rebound after losses felt during the pandemic.

“The tourism industry has an $18.4 billion impact on Missouri’s economy, supporting more than 280,000 jobs. It was also one of the hardest-hit industries during the pandemic,” said Maggie Kost, acting director of the department of economic development. “That’s why, through this program, we’re committed to investing in the recovery and future growth of Missouri tourism.”

Other organizations that received the grants include:

  • Gateway Arch Park Foundation, $2.7 million for Old Courthouse renovation.
  • St. Louis City Regional Convention and Visitors Commission, $1 million for outdoor event space.
  • City of Wright City, $921,000  for park improvement.
  • City of De Soto, $559,000 for theater renovation.
Jonathan Ahl is the Newscast Editor and Rolla correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.