Academy of Children's Theater excited for summer renovations - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Academy of Children's Theater excited for summer renovations

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RICHLAND, WA - One of the darlings of the Tri-Cities arts community is getting a much needed expansion.

"We are busting at the seams with our current space," explained Anne Spilman, the interim executive director of the Academy of Children's Theater. "We have full classes and we use our black box every day, so having additional usable space will be able to help us grow our programming."

Starting this summer, the Academy of Children's Theater - ACT - is kicking off the final phase in their $1.5 million renovation and expansion project at its headquarters in Richland.

Since moving into a former storage warehouse back in 2004, ACT has since added two classrooms and a 140-seat blackbox theater. But with their continued success, their growing pains are more apparent than ever.

"We will be converting our shop space into usable space for occupiable rehearsals and mini performances," Spilman explained.

Turning their 140-seat stage... into a 300-seat masterpiece theater.

Through their years of fundraising, these renovations are a welcome change that they've worked hard for. A lifelong member of ACT since her first role in "A Christmas Carol" back in elementary school, Spilman hopes this update will welcome a new generation of performers.

"We work really hard to give offerings to young people that can be available for them to learn a new skill set, or be able to come and meet a new group of people from all three or seven cities that are around this area," said Spilman.

With the renovations expected to run all summer, ACT hopes to have this phase completed in time for their fall performances.