Grant could mean big things for small Northern New York theater

SARANAC LAKE, N.Y. (WCAX) The Pendragon Theatre is about to celebrate its 40th year in production. It started out as a small, hometown theater started by a couple of kids from New York City. Over the years, it has become an institution in Saranac Lake.

"Right now the theater probably serves in the neighborhood of 7,500 community folks every year," said John Nicholson of the Pendragon Theatre.

Over the last 40 years, roughly five shows a year happened on the stage. For years they've been planning to expand. Now, a state grant is making that dream a reality.

"I'm here to say congratulations! You are first place winners at $10 million," Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-New York, said in August.

Cuomo made a trip to the village to announce they were this year's recipient of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative.

"In ten million ways I'm excited," said Mayor Clyde Rabideau, D-Saranac Lake.

Rabideau said the money will go to many things in the village but will focus on arts and culture, and the Pendragon is at the top of the list.

"We have a few priority projects one of them is the relocation of the Pendragon Theatre to our downtown corridor. We're looking for these traffic generators to enhance and have that synergy that the governor talked about to really bring our downtown to its full potential," Rabideau said.

Nicholson said it will cost about $6 million to build the new theater. They've already found a spot in town they would like to use right on Woodruff near other thriving business.

"We want to be a part of that and we really want to be accessible to the community and be able to be a good neighbor and be able to produce the high quality work that we want to do," Nicholson said.

Of course, all of the funding will not be coming from the DRI grant. Click here for more information on how you can donate.