Robinson Center performances moving to Maumelle during renovations

Maumelle Performing Arts Center

MAUMELLE (KATV) - TheRobinson Center will officially shut down for renovations on July 1, beggingthe question of where those performances will go for the next two years.{} Celebrity Attractions, the Arkansas SymphonyOrchestra and Ballet Arkansas are all moving their performances to Maumelle.

"We have worked with allof our partners to find new homes while we're under construction here," saidGretchen Hall, president and CEO of the Little Rock Convention & VisitorsBureau.

The place most partnerschose was Maumelle High School's auditorium - now being referred to as theMaumelle Performing Arts Center, and rightfully so.

"There will be fourCelebrity Attraction productions, six ASO Masterworks productions and theNutcracker," said Becky Guthrie, principal of Maumelle High School.

With seating for 1,250people, impeccable acoustics, an orchestra pit, large stage and the one thingno other central Arkansas facility has - a fly space - there really wasn't anyother option for relocation.

"This facility met thecriteria," said Guthrie, commenting on Celebrity Attraction's need for that flyspace for their Broadway-style shows.

The Pulaski County SpecialSchool District stands to make nearly $90,000 from the contract with all threecompanies over the next two years.{} Butwill the 20 minute drive from Little Rock keep people from frequenting theseshows?{} Not so says Maumelle.

"The three mainorganizations that are using our facility, many or most of the patrons of thoseorganizations already live in Maumelle," said Guthrie.

LRCVB, althoughacknowledging the shows won't be in Little Rock itself, they don't say theshows moving to Maumelle is a bad thing.

"The alternative was thatthey just lose those seasons," said Hall.{}"We don't want to lose the seasons, we want to continue to provide greatentertainment to central Arkansas."

Maumelle's space isroughly half the size of the Robinson, but Hall mentioned that's why most showshave added an extra day of performances when they start at Maumelle High in thefall.