New Concord Cap Center music venue makes its debut

  • People gather outside the Bank of New Hampshire Stage on Monday after the venue opened for business this past weekend. Caitlin Andrews / Monitor staff

  • The new Bank of New Hampshire Stage's marquee advertises upcoming talent on Monday, June 24, 2019. The venue opened for business this past weekend. Caitlin Andrews—Monitor staff

  • A crowd listens to the history of the old Concord Theatre, now the Bank of New Hampshire Stage, on Monday. The venue opened for business this past weekend. CAITLIN ANDREWS / Monitor staff

  • People check out the upstairs bar's lighting fixtures in the new Bank of New Hampshire Stage on Monday, June 24, 2019. The venue opened for business this past weekend. Caitlin Andrews—Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 6/24/2019 5:37:35 PM

Concord’s newest entertainment venue opened for business this past weekend.

The Bank of New Hampshire Stage opened Saturday with its maiden performance featuring Ed Balloon, said Lynne Sabean, Capitol Center for the Arts’ marketing manager. About 130 people attended the show, and while there are still a few finishing touches before the stage is complete, the venue is booked through the rest of summer and into the fall with shows.

But there is no denying the building has come a long way from the ruined structure whose former lives include a bakery and a movie theater on North Main Street barely a year ago.

A hulking lighting tress circles above the main floor where powder-blue strips of insulation once dangled; a thick foundation of dirt has been replaced by a stage and retractable bleacher-like seats, able to seat 260 viewers. When those go away, the smooth floor can hold 400 people.

A far cry from when the Cap Center first considered the space, said fundraising committee member Bob Wilson.

“It was like a bomb had gone off,” he said during a Monday ribbon cutting.

But throughout the fundraising and construction process, Cap Center executive director Nikki Clarke said she knew a second life for the building was just ahead.

“When I closed my eyes, I really could see this,” she said, gesturing around the stage. “Maybe not that fancy lighting tress, but the rest I could really see.”

Still to come is a 25½- by 15-foot video screen that will take up the back wall and the on-roof solar panels. Clarke said there are also plans to incorporate historic elements of the stage’s former lives – but those will have to be a secret for now.

 (This story has been updated to reflect that Ed Balloon held the first show at the Bank of New Hampshire Stage Saturday.)


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