A Night at the Paradise Center for the Arts
The historic downtown main street of Faribault, MN was busy with people enjoying the beautiful evening. The sun had set, but another light had taken its place at the end of the block. The Paradise Center for the Arts was lit up and shining to let everyone know that tonight was a special occasion. It was opening night for the first community theater production of 2017.
Originally built as an opera house in 1885, the Paradise Center for the Arts is a valued treasure in the Faribault community. Since its original construction, the building has served many purposes including a movie theater in the 1990’s. Tonight however, the Paradise was opening its doors for the 10th year since reopening as a playhouse and art gallery.
Walking through the outside doors of the building, you enter into a lobby designed as a Moroccan Courtyard. People enjoy snacks and drinks as they wait for the lights to signal the start of tonight’s show – Baskerville: A Sherlock Homes Mystery.
Just beyond the lobby is the Carlander Family Art Gallery where portraits created by local and national artist are on display. The 2017 gallery season began with a collection of art created by Minnesota native Fred Somers. Just outside the gallery are more portraits from other artists along with black and white photographs that show the Paradise in January of 1929 when the building caught fire.
Stepping into the doors of the auditorium, you’re reminded of the courtyard with castle like walls and a “Midnight Blue” colored ceiling to imitate a night’s sky. The Paradise auditorium has 280 seats on the floor with a balcony above that can be rented out for parties. On stage, the cast of the Paradise Community Theater begins the show while Faribault’s second theater troop, The Merlin’s Players, rehearses their upcoming play in the basement.
The Paradise Center hosts a combination of plays, music, and comedy throughout the year. In 2017, they will have 26 live shows. The Faribault community also has a children’s theater company that will perform Beauty and the Beast and Young Frankenstein this season.
Following the conclusion of the play, the audience shuffles its way out of the auditorium back into the lobby where they are met with a special tradition you’ll only find on opening night. Tables of food are set out for everyone to enjoy. The cast of the play soon joins the social festivities and you have the chance to congratulate each actor on their performance.
The night ends by walking out of the Paradise Center for the Arts and into the historic downtown of Faribault, MN. If you’re interested in attending one of the upcoming shows yourself, you can visit paradisecenterforthearts.org for a full schedule of performances.