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4/26/2012 12:01:00 AM
Yavapai College Performing Arts Center celebrates founding, new direction Friday
Courtesy photo
Yavapai College Performing Arts Center/Courtesy photo
On April 26, 1992, the Yavapai College Performance Hall opened its doors at 1100 E. Sheldon Ave., in Prescott. Now, renovated and re-branded as the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center, the facility is celebrating its two-decade anniversary 6 p.m. Friday with a brief historical overview and a screening of
Courtesy photo
Yavapai College Performing Arts Center/Courtesy photo On April 26, 1992, the Yavapai College Performance Hall opened its doors at 1100 E. Sheldon Ave., in Prescott. Now, renovated and re-branded as the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center, the facility is celebrating its two-decade anniversary 6 p.m. Friday with a brief historical overview and a screening of "Man on a Mission: Richard Garriott's Road to the Stars."
Courtesy photo
Courtesy photo
Nicholas DeMarino
The Daily Courier

From the moment the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center opened two decades ago, Jean Phillips was enchanted.

"It was quite a grand affair," said Phillips, then president of the Yavapai College Foundation. "My little entourage and I were in one of the boxes, and we could look back at the rows of people, and it was amazing."

That was Sunday, April 26, 1992.

The 20-year anniversary and renaming celebration - until recently, the facility was called the Yavapai College Performance Hall - is 6 p.m. Friday at the 1100 E. Sheldon Ave. facility in Prescott. There's a brief historical overview and a screening of "Man on a Mission: Richard Garriott's Road to the Stars," followed by a multimedia-assisted question-and-answer session.

Tickets are $5. That's $15 less than tickets to the Phoenix Symphony's grand opening performance, according to an event preview published in the April 24, 1992, issue of the Daily Courier. There was also an auction and an open house.

"The event was a culmination of our fundraising, and that was a big deal," Phillips said, referencing a half-million dollars of enhancements above the $6.1 million voters approved in a 1988 bond.

Today, recently renovated and technologically tricked out, the Performing Arts Center is shifting gears from the live performances that previously defined its existence.

Now and then

Maybe the Performing Arts Center's 20-or-so annual live events haven't caught your interest before now.

In the light of ongoing programming changes, you may want to rethink a night out at the facility.

"We're looking at more diverse programming that appeals to broader groups within the community," said Jeanne Welch, finance and operations director for the Yavapai College Foundation.

That means opening the doors year-round, not just during concert season, eliminating a few live performances, lowering general ticket prices, and using the 1,100-seat theatre for alternative entertainment.

The Prescott Film Festival is a new partner, which means more movies this year. The Prescott Center for the Arts is in the mix, which means a staged musical, "Annie," next year. A few comedians from Scottsdale also are scheduled to perform trial-balloon shows soon.

"We're hoping to offer more to the college students and 20-50 market," said Melissa Hodgdon, director of marketing and communications for Yavapai College. "There are a lot of things on the table right now because of budgets, and we're trying a lot of new things, some experiments to see what works, what's sustainable."

Within Yavapai College's $44 million annual operating budget, about $250,000, or 0.57 percent, goes to the Performing Arts Center.

"I'd like to see that go down by $100,000 this year," said Clint Ewell, vice president of finance and administrative services at Yavapai College. "There's not so much increased need for the facility as the desire for it take up less subsidy."

One of the big changes is weekly movies, 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays, which includes a complete run of "Harry Potter" films later this year. Another is revamped food offerings, including Bill's Pizza, and the pursuit of a liquor license to serve area wines, including students' creations from the Cottonwood Yavapai College campus.

"There are a lot of opportunities for tie-ins like that," Ewell said.

Although she'll always treasure early memories of the facility, Phillips understands the necessity of change.

"It's a matter of survival. Everyone's having to adjust and somehow improve revenue in this economy," she said. "It can't just be a formal performance hall anymore, and, in the end, we'll be getting greater use out of the facility."

Visit the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center's website,, for an updated event calendar.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Article comment by: @ ki An

Ki An, hope you have had a chance to check out the kids films scheduled for June and July at the YCPAC! They will be screening the entire Harry Potter series with a costume contest and a raffle for a family trip to Harry Potter's Wizardly World in Florida! Also, the Prescott Film Festival usually includes some kids films, so you can keep an eye out for that! :-)

Posted: Friday, April 27, 2012
Article comment by: nice venue

very nice ! grady gammage is still in my heart but i am all for our grand venue in prescott ! the show must go on !! hats off to all those who made it possible !

Posted: Thursday, April 26, 2012
Article comment by: Steven Ayres

"A moneymaker for the college," is it? Speaking as a part-time stagehand there, I can assure you that the theatre has never "made money" and there's a lot of pressure on now for it to lose less. The investment in upgrades was done to make it competitive in terms of technical capabilities and audience experience, so that it's even possible for it to lose less money.

The ideas expressed here for new kinds of experiences in the theatre are welcome. Many of us involved have been actively seeking fresh perspectives on what local people might pay to experience. Keep it up! You may get what you want.

Posted: Thursday, April 26, 2012
Article comment by: Ki An

How about some kid's shows/programs?!

Posted: Thursday, April 26, 2012
Article comment by: Scam Artists

When they were begging for money to build the place they said it would be for students and community to they got their millions.
Students weren't allowed to do drama there and the P.F.A.A. was priced out of using it.
Now it's a money maker for the college and nothing close to what was promised.

Posted: Thursday, April 26, 2012
Article comment by: Richardo Winters

Very well done upgrades inside the theater area, and I like the upgraded website, too.

Good job Yavapai College

Posted: Thursday, April 26, 2012
Article comment by: Prescott Film Festival Helen Stephenson

All of us at the Prescott Film Festival are absolutely thrilled to be teaming up with Yavapai College and screening films in the YC Performing Arts Center. We have screened films there in the past and everyone connected with the facility is highly professional and without fail puts on flawless shows. Additionally they have and continue to welcome us with open arms.

One of our guest filmmakers in March, Gabriel Diani was amazed at the quality of both picture and sound and said, “We’ve been to 22 film festivals with "The Selling" and this is definitely the highest quality and best technical presentation we’ve experienced!” Filmmakers watch each "frame" of their films on the big screens, so that is high praise indeed!

With the support of the college, we are screening films there each month, with the next one being May 9th, "Operation Casablanca" an action/comedy in French with English subtitles. A foreign film on the big screen in Prescott? Yes indeed! (And this film won Director's Choice, Best Film at the 2011 fest!)

The college and YCPAC will be the hub for the Prescott Film Festival August 1 - 8th with our traditional wine tasting and film screening highlight Saturday August 5th. Looking forward to another sell out crowd!

Thank you to the college for putting this in motion and supporting the community with Prescott's own unique movie theater!

Posted: Thursday, April 26, 2012
Article comment by: Who Knows

How about staging a blues festival, maybe in the spring or fall? If it met with a good turnout, an annual event possibility. Blues at the Butte? Just a thought...

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