Arts & Culture

NEMPAC President Makes the Case for North End Theater


Matthew Black, the relatively new President of the North End Music and Performing Arts Center (NEMPAC), writes an “Open Letter to the North End.” After a visit to the newly remodeled Modern Theater, Matt is looking to build momentum for performing arts space in the neighborhood.

“I will not buy into the logic that there is no money for a theater. The North End as a standalone is home to 10,000 people. Show me a city that size anywhere in America that doesn’t have a theater. In many great societies, a theater is a shining point of pride. Even in the most impoverished places, there is an effort to provide a suitable place to gather. Here, if we want to get more than 100 people together, we’re forced into the tight confines of the Nazzaro Center or we cancel someone’s basketball game to use the gym. Unless there’s a church involved, there’s nowhere to go. Period.”

“So I put it to you, my neighbors, to find a home for the arts. Let’s start demanding what we’re owed. Let’s find a suitable site and find the money. There’s definitely a need. This is an issue that needs a champion.”

Read the full letter.

8 Replies to “NEMPAC President Makes the Case for North End Theater

  1. It's a great idea.
    I think it could be tweaked by including the Waterfront as part of the community.
    And by thniking of providing space for other groups in the neighborhoods.
    i'll look forward to your progess.

  2. The North End already has a theatre. It is called the IMPROVE ASYLUM. The North End NEEDS the North Bennet St School to find a bigger home so it can stay in one place. The North End NEEDS a bigger space for the Eliot School. The North End NEEDS affordable housing. The North End DOES NOT NEED a theatre for a handful of people who put on one play a year directed by Mr. Black's wife or for the kids to have a music recital once or twice a year.

  3. St. John's School and the Eliot School both have performance spaces with permanent stages. Since NEMPAC is active in the Eliot School's before school program, why can't it use the space after school as well? The North End Union had a lovely theatre on its ground floor, but the Unitarians pulled out of the neighborhood in 1997 and sold the building to developers. With so many lovely and historic theaters downtown just a short walk from the North End, it's hard to see how an amateur performance space can compete. Perhaps utilizing more efficiently the available community space at the Nazzaro Center (which has a piano on the second floor and smaller classroom space there as well) can be a more feasible option for a small group like NEMPAC. Its afterschool program ends at 6 p.m. but the Nazzaro remains open for a good three hours longer, until 9 p.m, perfect for adult practice time.

  4. Using ther Improv Asylum is beside the point. NEMPAC is a small organization with limited resources and NO REAL NEED for a theatre. If Matt Black wants to raise money for something the North End actually needs, more power to him. But a neighborhood theater… I think not.

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