Historic Monroe theater getting an upgrade

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Originally built as a movie house in 1938, the River Raisin Centre for the Arts in downtown Monroe was revamped to host live performances back in 1987.

Now, 30 years later, the stage is being completely rebuilt thanks to a $73,000 state grant.

The theatre is a non-profit running strictly on donations, ticket sales, sponsors, and advertising.

A new stage was something theatre instructors say they desperately needed.

"The people on the stage are going to be much more comfortable," says Executive Director Mike Trapp. "Because this is a time that they get something that affects their performances."

The storage area underneath the original stage was gutted, leaving room for more ventilation and a trap door for musical theatre performances.

Musical Theatre Director Tracy Glover says the construction has been challenging to work around during rehearsals, but the outcome is worth is.

"It's like night and day," Glover says. "It's more level."

The original stage had noticable soft spots, which could offset dancers on stage.

River Raisin Dance Academy Instructor Isabella Arnold says the new floor will also be safer for dancers landing their leaps.

The new stage will have four layers, including plywood and foam to add more spring for the perfect dance floor.

New lights, added security system, and a $23,000 piano restoration were included in the grant.

Renovations will be complete just in time for the RRCA's next production, Beauty and the Beast, running July 19th-21st.

To buy tickets and find out more information about the RRCA, click here: https://www.riverraisincentre.org/