Consultant: Save Oneonta Theatre, Let Foothills Help

Consultant: Save

Oneonta Theatre,

Let Foothills Help

Oneonta Theatre owner Tom Cormier, left, listens to consultant Duncan Webb’s presentation on future possibilities for his landmark property. (Jennifer Hill/

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to

Duncan Webb, founder of Webb Management Services, presented his findings on the future of the Oneonta Theatre and how it can be used to help revitalize the downtown. 

ONEONTA – The Oneonta Theatre is worth saving.

Duncan Webb, found of Webb Management Services, the premier consultant on revitalizing and managing historic theaters, told a gathered audience at Foothills that the 121 year old theater, now owned by Tom Cormier, was viable, and recommended that it be renovated and “aligned with the downtown” in helping to attract visitors who shop and stay in hotels in Oneonta.

But most notably, he said that the theater, once restored, should partner with the Foothills Performing Arts Center, rather than be in competition with it, and that Foothills should manage the theater’s operations. Additionally, he recommended that SUNY Oneonta partner with the theater to develop programs based around the college’s theater and music departments.

Webb will present its business analysis, especially the dollar amount, of restoring Oneonta Theatre at the end of January 2019.

2 thoughts on “Consultant: Save Oneonta Theatre, Let Foothills Help

  1. Tom Holowach

    As someone who not only grew up there, but majored in theatre at SUCO, I think this is very wise. Years ago I was thrilled when I first heard about FPAC, but when I finally went there for our 50th OHS Reunion, I was surprisingly appalled. In my opinion, it is so badly designed and equipped… an acoustic nightmare… that it is only practical for special events, and should probably only function as a “convention center” type event space. Oneonta Theater, designed during the “golden age, at least is functional, and I understand Orpheus did community theatre there for many years. If it is structurally sound, restore it, put in LED stage and house lighting and have a joint facility management structure with FPAC, but have SUCO help with programming. If I were still there, I would support that project completely with my time.

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