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Raven Theater may add Windsor performing arts space

  • The Healdsburg Raven Theater held a sneak peek at their new satellite performance space in the town of Windsor in the New Beginnings Ministry of Love Church near the town green. (John Burgess / PD)

Windsor, a town with no community theater, may soon have a venue for plays, concerts, poetry readings and more.

A downtown church is on the verge of being converted into a performance space, under the auspices of the Raven Performing Arts Theater in Healdsburg.

“This is a piece of Windsor that we need. It gives us some nightlife. It attracts people to Windsor,” said Karen Alves, part of the six-member Windsor founders' committee seeking to make it a reality.

Alves and others behind the future Raven Theater Windsor said it would be a cozy, 100-seat flexible space that could accommodate musicals and dramas, youth and poetry recitals, community forums and speakers, classes, even comedy nights and films.

“We have so many families here and to provide this type of entertainment that's family-oriented is really critical,” said Laurie Shimizu, a committee member who owns a custom jewelry store downtown.

Tom Brand, executive director of The Raven in Healdsburg, said his organization is in final negotiations to lease the 53-year-old, cinderblock church on Windsor River Road.

“It's existing as a church now. The congregation is moving,” he said of the small, nondenominational New Beginnings Ministry of Love Church that has been there six years.

Organizers of Raven Windsor estimate they will need $75,000 for startup costs to pay for everything from rent to lighting, painting, drapes and risers.

Already they've raised $5,000, including $3,000 from downtown merchants.

The rest is expected to come from donations and a campaign on the website Kickstarter, with contributors getting items such as totebags, or show tickets for smaller amounts. Those who kick in $1,000 or more a get a private theater showing with 100 of their friends, according to committee member Lynn Reiter.

“The plan is we open and start working in January,” he said. “The first performance would be February, or March. It depends on how we do in fundraising.”

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