Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Act 2: Gamut to complete facility build-out with new Education Center.

Gamut Theatre in downtown Harrisburg

Gamut Theatre Group is set to begin the second phase of the build-out of its downtown Harrisburg space—construction of the Gamut Theatre Education Center.

Melissa Nicholson, Gamut co-founder, said today that the organization’s board of directors recently voted to initiate construction after the theater company raised about 87 percent of the $700,000 cost.

Nicholson expects work to begin in late April and wrap up by August.

Co-founder Clark Nicholson said that he’s excited to “finally use a space that I have been walking around for two years, feeling it fairly bursting with potential.”

Gamut purchased the circa-1850s First Church of God in 2013, then raised about $1.5 million to complete the first phase of the project, which included construction of the main stage. Two years later, it mounted its first production in the space, moving from its long-time home across the street in Strawberry Square.

Since then, it has been raising money to complete the project. The two-year fundraising effort has been led by anchor grants from the Impact Harrisburg Foundation and the Donald B. and Dorothy L. Stabler Foundation, Melissa Nicholson said. Gamut kicked off a public fundraising campaign March 1 to raise the remaining $88,000 for the second phase.

Artist’s rendering of Gamut’s second stage (rendering by Lynne Porter).

When completed, the Education Center will include the Alexander Grass Second Stage, two renovated classrooms and other areas for students to learn various aspects of theater operations. The second stage will be the permanent home for the Popcorn Hat Players Children’s Theatre, Stage Door Series Ensemble and the Gamut Theatre Academy.

“By providing a home stage for both the Children’s Theatre and for the ensemble of Stage Door, the ability to develop the distinct and beloved programming of these two groups will be vastly expanded and improved,” Clark Nicholson said. “We will continue to do what we have done well throughout our first quarter-century, but with the physical facility to give each of these distinctive Gamut entities the secure launching and nurturing ground which they so richly deserve.”

This year marks the 25th anniversary for Gamut Theatre Group, which began in 1993 with the Popcorn Hat Players, later adding a Shakespeare troupe and other theater programming.

Gamut Theatre Group is located at 15 N. 4th St., Harrisburg. For more information or to make a donation, visit


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