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Watertown Children's Theatre to merge with Arsenal Center for the Arts this summer

Posted by Jaclyn Reiss  June 11, 2013 03:20 PM

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The Arsenal Center for the Arts in Watertown will formally merge with the Watertown Children’s Theatre beginning July 1.

The change means the children's theater will be fully integrated in to the Arsenal Center's educational programs, and will allow for joint programming expansion and combined membership outreach.

Certain administrative functions for the two entities will also be combined where possible, according to a joint statement from the organizations.

The Arsenal Center, started in 2005, will preserve the 30-year-old Watertown Children’s Theatre name under its umbrella, and will continue offering the same programming geared towards kids that it already features.

“The merger is a natural outcome of the long-standing partnership between our two institutions," said the children's theater founding artistic director, Dinah Lane. "Each has particular strengths in the areas of creativity and educational resources, which, combined, will create expanded opportunities for artists of all levels and interests.”

The Watertown Children’s Theatre offers local residents theater education programs, from full-scale musical productions to improv workshops to dance, voice, and theater tech lessons, Lane said.

Meanwhile, the Arsenal Center for the Arts offers gallery exhibits, art classes and workshops for all ages, musical concerts of all genres, and literary and art discussions.

The center's space at 321 Arsenal St. houses the 380-seat Charles Mosesian Theater and the 90-seat Black Box theater. The space is also shared by a fine arts and crafts retail shop, artist studios, the Quilters’ Connection organization, and the resident theater group, called the New Repertory Theatre.

Sharon Glennon, the center's executive director, said the decisions to merge the two organizations is an advancement for the greater arts community.

“I am excited that our singular mission will yield lasting positive cultural impact, and will allow the seed of the creative vision that was planted over 30 years ago by Dinah Lane to grow and flourish in the years to come," Glennon said. "This synergistic collaboration will present the best of what each organization has to offer to an expanded group of students and arts patrons.”

John Foote, the center's Board of Directors president, said the integration has been discussed for a year and a half.

“As we explored the possibility of this merger over the past eighteen months, we collectively arrived at the same conclusion - that together we are better able to support and serve our community,” Foote said.

The children's theater played a seminal role in the creation of the Arsenal Center and has continuously provided year-round programs to the community, officials said.

For more information, visit the Arsenal Center's website.

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Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at jaclyn.reiss@globe.com

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