SOUTH EASTON — Superintendent Luis Lopes and Principal Leslie Weckesser are pleased to announce the completed construction and unveiling of the new Southeastern Performing Arts Center (SPAC).
Southeastern Regional hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony with many special guests and community members in attendance on Friday, Feb. 4 in celebration of the newly completed space.
Southeastern Regional School Committee Chair Tony Branch offered the welcoming remarks.
“As a School Committee member and as a resident of Brockton, I feel being associated with this great performance center is an honor. I understand this because of the richness of the culture that represents not only entertainment but inspiration and the uplifting power of the performing arts,” Chair Branch said.
In attendance at the event were many Southeastern staff members and students, administrators, School Committee members, building committee members, contractors and local officials from the towns Southeastern serves.
State Sen. Michael Brady, Brockton Mayor Robert Sullivan, State Sen. Paul Feeney, State Sen. Walter Timilty and State Rep. Carol Doherty were also in attendance and offered remarks during the speaking program. They spoke of the new facility, the work that went into bringing it to fruition, and the opportunities and benefits it will provide Southeastern students and the wider community.
Plans for the new SPAC have been in the works for almost a decade, but due to budget constraints, the project had been put on hold for many years. Construction began on the space in October 2020 and was completed at the end of January.
The full SPAC is approximately 13,000 square feet. It features a 288-seat theater and a large thrust stage with audience seating on all three sides.
During the ceremony, guests were able to see what a performance in the new space will be like as Southeastern students performed two musical numbers on the new stage. The theater area will be a versatile space and can be used for large and small live performances and concerts, videos and films, assemblies, guest speakers, academic lessons and more.
“This addition right here — we saw at the groundbreaking just the potential of it — this is magnificent,” Sen. Timilty said. “Now organizations, entities and ensembles, such as the Southeastern players, have an A-plus facility to go along with an A-plus performance.”
“It seems like yesterday that we were here for the groundbreaking and now this has become a beautiful, beautiful facility,” Sen. Brady said.
The SPAC also has state-of-the-art technical equipment and an instructional space behind the stage, a backstage green room and dressing rooms for those participating in shows and events. Students of multiple vocational programs will have the opportunity to use and learn in the space, including students who are interested in aspects of theater aside from performing, such as sound, lighting and rigging.
“We understand that the creative and performing arts have a place in our society that we saw during the pandemic is so vitally important, and we miss it when it’s not there — it’s the fabric of our community,” Sen. Feeney said. “To see all the work that’s being done backstage, and for folks that can learn different skills and take your education and your trade and bring it to a performing arts center like this is invaluable.”
Outside of the theater, the SPAC also features a semi-circular glass-enclosed art studio and gallery that can be used to showcase artwork and other projects, as well as host events. A concession stand is also located in the gallery entrance.
“This is such a joyous occasion, being in this amazing space, constructed with a devotion to the students and faculty in this school and in this region,” Rep. Doherty said.
“I know [the performing arts center] was a dream for many, and it takes many to achieve that dream, and it’s been achieved today,” Mayor Sullivan said. “What I’m going to humbly ask is that we pack this place every single time there’s a performance. Show our support, show our admiration, show our love for the kids. That’s what it means to be a community. We’re a special community, but we’re better together.”
Rep. Doherty also presented a citation from the Massachusetts House of Representatives congratulating Southeastern on the new facility.
Following the speaking program, School Committee members, local officials, and local and state representatives helped to cut the ribbon on all three sides of the stage, officially unveiling the SPAC.
“We are absolutely thrilled to finally open up this space for our students and the community, and to recognize and showcase all of the different types of talents our Southeastern students have. The SPAC is a space that all of our students can use to learn in, and get real-world experience in performing and with state-of-the-art theater equipment,” Superintendent Lopes said. “This facility would not be possible without all of the support we’ve received from our local and state partners, and we can’t thank them enough for recognizing the value this facility will have for years to come.”
Southeastern also plans to open the space to community groups for performances and events in the future, as well as begin a community theater program to bring the arts to more kids.
The first performance in the new space will be the comedy “Clue,” which opens on Thursday, Feb. 10. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.