Weston Playhouse embarks on major expansion

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WESTON, Vt. (WCAX) Big changes are coming to the historic Weston Playhouse.

"Before we started construction last August, the only thing you could see was a meadow," said Lesley Koenig, Weston Playhouse's managing director.

A meadow and an 1860's dairy barn. But now a state-of the-art production theater towers over this Weston field. The Weston Playhouse at Walker Farm will be the company's second theater. A 1930's church-turned-playhouse has been the main campus for award-winning acts since the company started. But now this additional 8,000 square-foot facility will allow for productions year round -- and more flexibiliy.

"You can do anything from concerts to blue grass, to all of our sumer plays," Koenig said.

Construction on the $13.6 million project began about a year ago, but Koenig says it has been a long time coming. "It's a decade-long dream," he said.

The new facility comes during a time of transition. A couple of months ago the theater's three founding directors, Malcolm Ewen, Tim Fort, and Steve Stettler announced that this upcoming season would be their last. Koenig says the men have worked for the playouse for more than 40 years and felt it was time to pass on the torch to new leadership.

They're handing over a legacy of success, having grown a $150,000 business to a $2 million dollar nonprofit. Now the company is searching for an artistic director to work beside Koenig. "To be at a transition at this point in our history, to be moving forward in such a brand new matter -- it's like that is the joy," Koenig said.

The facility is expected to finished by the end of September.