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Sands Constellation Theatre celebrates opening weekend in Canandaigua

Canandaigua is getting a new theater experience.

The Sands Constellation Theatre, part of the Fort Hill Performing Arts Center on Fort Hill Avenue opened on Friday.

The new $4.48 million, 427-seat commercial theater, and performing arts center occupies the former Canandaigua Academy School Auditorium, which had been vacant since 1996.

At that time, portions of the building had been renovated into affordable housing for seniors.

The theater rehabilitation was financed with $2 million in HCR subsidy through its Rural and Urban Community Investment Fund Program (CIF), and $1.3 million in Federal and State Historic Tax Credit equity provided by the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Additional financing includes a Theater Equity Contribution of $1.5 million and private equity raised by the sponsor, Fort Hill Preservation.

State Senator Pam Helming said, “Fort Hill Performing Arts Center is a beautiful venue that will provide space for musical theatre productions, orchestra performances, visual arts exhibits and many other presentations and ceremonies. The facility will be a centerpiece for the arts in the Finger Lakes Region and will be enjoyed by both residents and tourists for years to come.”

Jack Marren, Town of Victor Supervisor and Chairman, Ontario County Board of Supervisors, added, “I am so excited about the grand opening of the Fort Hill Sands Constellation Theater this coming weekend. The addition of this year-round performance venue to the Finger Lakes will benefit this region in a number of ways. Quality of life for residents, increased arts & entertainment to attract visitors, economic impacts on restaurants and hotels to mention a few. This endeavor should serve as a model of what public & private collaboration on projects is able to accomplish and I commend the FHPAC for the repurposing of the existing building that was once the Canandaigua Academy Auditorium.”