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Fantasy Playhouse to build $12-million facility

HUNTSVILLE – Fantasy Playhouse Children’s Theater and Academy has announced plans to build a new theatre arts campus costing approximately $12-million for the 60-year-old performing arts organization.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic forced closing in March, Fantasy Playhouse had served more than 27,000 stakeholders and was set to break records for enrollment and attendance in classes, workshops and performances. “Today’s good news is an indicator of the continued growth of the arts and cultural scene in the greater Tennessee Valley area, despite the current crisis,” executive director Karen Mockensturm said.

Since 2014, Fantasy Playhouse has experienced more than 400 percent and has outgrown their current building on Long Avenue. This growth and long-term vision of a family-focused performance venue led to purchase of 5.5 acres at Holmes Avenue and Triana Boulevard.

The state-of-the-art facility includes 35,700 square feet with a 355-seat theater. An arts-access viewing room will accommodate nursing mothers, vocal toddlers and sensory-sensitive children. Fully equipped areas for production support will double as technical theatre classrooms.

Fantasy Playhouse’s new home will consolidate all arts education and live programming under one roof.

“Our community is the most important part of why we do what we do,” Mockensturm said. “The new Fantasy Playhouse campus will be a high-profile, accessible arts and culture destination for families, building on our organization’s legacy.”

The new campus will offer advanced instruction of technical theatre, such as lighting, set design, properties fabrication and sound needs. Instructors can pursue film and music production. This study for STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) will benefit artists and non-artists alike.

The City of Huntsville has pledged $2 million. “We’re grateful to Fantasy Playhouse for making this significant investment in this area, paving the way for more economic development in this neighborhood,” Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said.

Fantasy Playhouse’s fundraising campaign, “Spotlight on the Future,” will help construction costs. To-date, private donors are Torch Technologies, The Daniel Foundation, Alabama State Council on the Arts, Facebook, Kiwanis Club of Huntsville Foundation and PPG.

“This building will be a community asset to the Terry Heights neighborhood,” Dale Strong, Madison County Commission Chairman, said. “Theater arts builds in children self-confidence, academic success, creative-thinking processes and future investment as adults.”

For more information, visit fantasyplayhouse.org/spotlightonthefuture.

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