Perhaps the biggest news to rock Portland’s vibrant performing arts scene was last summer’s announcement that the Northwest Children’s Theater & School (NWCT) was moving to downtown. In the months since, the beloved youth performing arts organization has been working daily with contractors, electricians and more to completely remodel the former Regal Theater building into The Judy Kafoury Center for Youth Arts.
The Judy, as it has been dubbed, will hold its grand opening Saturday, April 29 from 12-1:30 pm. The event is free and will also feature local artists.
“There’s this feeling now, this buzz, that we will soon be able to welcome people into this space,” says Rachael Brown, the NWCT marketing and communications director.
The venue features four spaces, each color-coded for families’ convenience. The main stage (purple) marks its grand debut this month with Elephant and Piggie’s We are in a Play! (pictured above). Also this month, visitors can catch a second-run movie in the 190-seat cinema (red) on Fridays and weekends (pictured below). Pro tip: Families can also hold birthday parties here! And in May, The Judy will hold its first stage performance in the intimate black box theater (green) with an original screenplay of Cinderella. (Last month, NWCT welcomed young thespians into its three studio spaces — yellow — for spring break classes.)
While the venue is initially launching the opening of its spaces incrementally, Brown says this summer, “there will always be something happening here.” Another bonus: The Judy is revamping its concessions, and will feature kid-approved favorites like pizza and popcorn, and will partner with local eateries. Pro tip: Food is allowed throughout The Judy! There are also bathrooms on each floor, including three gender-neutral ones.
Looking for the full spring lineup from Portland’s youth performing arts organizations? Check out our handy guide here. It’s organized by venue and age appropriateness. And if your family has never been to show, don’t worry, here’s how to make it a fun experience for everyone.
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