Renovated Greenwich Library ‘Raises its Game’ with Full Range of Cultural Arts Programs

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GREENWICH – Where can you ask your favorite songwriter questions, revel in an exhilarating performance by the Paul Taylor Dance Company, and step into a cafe for a bagel with a schmear?

If you said in the Big Apple, you would need to guess again.

Long a welcoming haven for bookworms, students facing a final crisis, and parents of toddlers hoping to save a rainy day with a story hour, Greenwich Library is poised to fully open as a main player in the larger community’s vibrant cultural scene.

“We are fortunate among the libraries in the area to have a space like this,” said Greenwich Library Director Barbara Ormerod-Glynn of the performing arts component of the recently completed renovations of the library.

Launched in July 2019, the library’s ReImagine project aimed to make the library more flexible and ready to meet the needs of 21st century clients hungry for additional spaces of representation, study and creation, said Kate Petrov, manager. public relations library.

The project transformed the library’s lower-level Cole Auditorium into a 288-seat Berkley Theater with a state-of-the-art audio and video system, new multi-level seating and an elevated, elongated stage that can now accommodate performances. dance and opera. All events are free, but registration is required and available on the library website www.greenwichlibrary.org.

With around 2,000 programs a year, the library has big plans for space. The same goes for the more intimate Marx Family Black Box Theater right across from the new Library Café, which has offerings from Arcuri’s, Garden Catering, Black Country Market and Café, Shearwater Coffee Roasters, COBS Bread and Upper. Crust Bagel Co.

It will be hard to beat the theater’s first live performance, the Paul Taylor Dance Company. The internationally renowned dancers christened the Greenwich Space on October 21, the same week they performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC

“It’s breathtaking,” said Helaine Winer, performing arts chair of Friends of the Greenwich Library. “It was like seeing a concert in a club.”

Upcoming events include seasonal readings with JIB Productions on December 2 and a performance on January 23 by Musicians of Marlboro, longtime guest artists at the library. On February 10, Greenwich-based actress Jane Condon will take the stage with special guests. Most events are free, but tickets sell out quickly, Winer said.

In the spring, Shakespeare on the Sound will perform “Almost Maine” and the library will host the Ashforth children’s concert series, Friends president Hilary Martin Lea said. A 2022 choral event is in the works and the popular Friday Film series, children’s events and more will continue.

The lineup increases the Flinn Gallery, a longtime home for visual and fine arts exhibitions and artist lectures, Lea said.

Many of the virtual events that have kept the excitement alive during the COVID-19 pandemic will also continue, with value-added components such as information from casting agents and film directors and discussions with revered artists at the event. nationwide, such as American Ballet Theater Principal Dancer Misty Copeland.

“Some of these virtual programs, we had over 500 people,” Winer said. “You are starting to cultivate an audience. “

The Greenwich Library also recently hosted James McBride, who led a discussion on his book “Deacon King Kong,” which is this year’s Greenwich Reads Together selection. McBride’s in-person talk last week was also broadcast live.

McBride, who also wrote “The Good Lord Bird,” the 2013 National Book Award for Fiction and the 1995 bestselling memoir “The Color of Water,” is one of the many writers on the lineup. library.

Nathan Hale, author and illustrator of the best-selling American history graphic novel series “Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales,” will present a combination of live drawing and storytelling experiences during an author visit this week. Additionally, Douglas Stuart will be coming later this month to read and discuss his first novel “Shuggie Bain”, winner of the 2020 Booker Prize.

Library renovations also included updates to the children’s department, learning and innovation labs, a teen center, small business meeting rooms, and the Peterson Business Wing. While the library has always offered a plethora of musical and artistic programs, the renewed spaces will help the programs grow and flourish, Lea said.

“Libraries are now the community hub. The board said, “Let’s raise our level of play,” she said. “It’s all kinds of experiences and it’s for the whole city.

For more information on events, visit greenwichlibrary.org. To see the reinvented Greenwich Library, www.youtube.com/watch?v=GyKp7ADVo7Y. To see the Berkley Theater, visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=VBLFnBOW3PM. A video of the Greenwich Reads Together event with James McBride can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/iFkiBX7vzE8.


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