GOVERNOR CUOMO ANNOUNCES GRAND REOPENING OF HUDSON HALL AT THE HISTORIC HUDSON OPERA HOUSE
Renovation of Oldest Surviving Theater in New York Funded Through State, Federal and Private Investments
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the grand reopening of Hudson Hall at the historic Hudson Opera House in Columbia County, the oldest surviving theater in the state. The Hudson Opera House, built in 1855, has welcomed great performers, writers and historical figures over the years, including Susan B. Anthony and Theodore Roosevelt.
The $8.5 million project was funded through a $1.3 million Capital Region Economic Development Council Capital Grant, a $1 million Restore NY Grant; a matching EPF grant leveraging $800,000 in grants from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation; nearly $100,000 from the New York State Council for the Arts; and $3 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Community Facilities Loan Program. The remaining funding was supported through investments from members of the Hudson Opera House Board of Directors and private sponsors.
Interior renovations included restoring the theater to a professional-grade working venue suitable for a diverse range of programming and rentals. Work included the rehabilitation of the stage, performance hall and mezzanine, which now features a new lighting and sound booth. Support spaces, including dressing rooms, a Reception Room and accessible restrooms, were also restored. Part of the project included preservation of the facility’s historic character, including the proscenium arch and raked wooden floor stage, which were late 19th century additions. The historic fabric was also retained, with new elements sensitively incorporated to retain the overall historic character of the spaces.
Additionally, the opera house was modernized to ensure accessibility, safety and security for all staff, performers and patrons. A new elevator tower in the southeast corner of the building makes the performance hall fully accessible to all individuals for the first time in the building's more than 160-year history. The facility underwent lead and asbestos abatement services, and new electrical, fire protection and HVAC systems were installed. Exterior renovations included the restoration of the facility’s masonry, windows and doors. A new roof was installed and the building’s cornice was restored.
About Hudson Hall
Built in 1855 as the City Hall for Hudson, New York, the building contains New York State’s oldest surviving theater. From its founding until 1962, when the building was abandoned, the theater provided a space for some of the most exciting cultural, social and political events of the day. The great Hudson River School painters showed their paintings, Bret Harte read his poems, Ralph Waldo Emerson gave a talk titled ‘Social Aims,’ and Susan B. Anthony visited twice, lecturing to abolish slavery and rallying the cry for women’s suffrage. And in 1914, Teddy Roosevelt regaled a crowd with his adventures in Africa.
Today, Hudson Hall continues its historic legacy, promoting the arts and playing a pivotal role in the cultural and economic advancement of the region. It serves more than 50,000 individuals and families annually through performances, exhibits, talks, and youth and senior programs, the majority of which celebrate local history, talent and region, all within our current facility. Truly, Hudson Hall is an example of a historical landmark that celebrates the timeless spirit of our place while serving as a vital resource for the cultural and economic quality of life in our region. Visit www.hudsonhall.org to learn more.