Atlanta Opera to Move to New Suburban Theater

Opera   Atlanta Opera to Move to New Suburban Theater
The Atlanta Opera will leave the Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center for the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center, a new complex under construction northwest of the city center.

The company announced yesterday that it would move to the John A. Williams Theatre, a 2,750-seat hall at the center, starting with the 2007-08 season.

In a statement, the company said that most of its subscribers lived closer to the Cobb Energy Centre than to the Civic Center in downtown Atlanta.

"We have worked diligently during the past 18 months to explore all options for this company, having met with city and state officials, developers and public institutions," said Dennis Hanthorn, the company's general director since 2004. "We concluded the John A. Williams Theatre is the best option for us now to build the foundation for growth—both financially and artistically."

Atlanta Opera moved to the 4,500-seat, concrete Civic Center from the Fox Theatre, a restored movie palace, in 2003, seeking better acoustics, a larger stage, and more flexible scheduling. But according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the company's attendance has dropped sharply—and its debt has grown—since the move.

"Our research indicates that the Civic Center itself is a large part of our problem," Hanthorn told the Journal-Constitution.

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