1. 135,000 SQUARE FEET
The total floorspace inside the Pablo Center at the Confluence, which officially opens Sept. 22. That includes two theaters, two art galleries, a dance studio, rehearsal spaces, classrooms, a recording studio, offices, and more, much of it with outstanding views of the confluence of the Chippewa and Eau Claire rivers. (The figure is 155,000 square feet if you include space occupied by mechanical items on the roof.)
2. 1,600 SEATS
The combined capacity of the RCU and Jamf theaters. The 400-seat Jamf Theatre, the largest “black box” theater in the Midwest, will be highly flexible: The seats pull out of the wall and performances can be held on a thrust stage or in the round.The Broadway-style 1,200-seat RCU Theatre can seat more people than the old State Theatre yet no audience member will more than 80 feet from the stage.
3. 113 FEET
That’s the distance between the surface of the RCU Theatre stage and the fly tower, allowing a huge amount of space for curtains and set pieces to be hoisted into the air. (There’s also a distance of 83 feet from the stage to the bottom of the rigging grid, which equipment such as lights hang from.) Overall, the stage is 55 feet deep and 100 feet wide, making it three times larger than the stage at the State Theatre.
4. 7,200 SQUARE FEET
The size of the lobby and atrium area – also known as the OakLeaf Physicians Lobby – which will soar upward three stories. Visitors coming from the soon-to-be-completed Haymarket Plaza will enter the arts center via this 2,200 person capacity lobby. Here they will be able to access the box office, the concession area, and view a word cloud containing the names of all 1,100 donors to the project.
5. $59.89 MILLION
That’s the total price tag for the Pablo Center, including design ($6 million), construction ($45 million), furnishings ($7.9 million), and “pre-opening expenses” like staffing and technology ($900,000). The biggest chunk ($24 million and counting) is coming from donors, with the rest from the state, the City of Eau Claire, Eau Claire County, and new market tax credits.
After more than six years of planning and the persistent efforts of countless leaders, supporters, and community members like yourself, the big day is finally upon us: The Pablo Center at the Confluence is a reality, and the public is invited to celebrate the grand opening of Eau Claire’s new cultural center. On Saturday, Sept. 22, from noon-5:30pm, the Pablo Center will be open for members of the public to explore and enjoy free of charge. Visitors can grab a bite to eat, explore the art galleries, and enjoy beautiful music and dance performances. When the sun goes down, be prepared to shift gears as the Pablo Center presents “Cabinet of Curiosities,” a gala event that will celebrate the idea of wonder through theatrical and musical performances. The audience will be treated to two performances. The first is the world premiere of “Terrene” (which means “of or like the Earth”), a unique combination of visual art by designer/sculptor/puppeteer Chris M. Green and music by UW-Eau Claire resident composer Chiayu Hsu, all in celebration of natural, earthly curiosities. The second performance will be “Firebird,” a lush puppet and dance masterpiece that tells the tale of Prince Ivan, the magical firebird, and the epic struggle between good and evil. The Chippewa Valley Symphony Orchestra will play Igor Stravinksy’s stunning score while dancers bring David Neumann’s choreography to life. Learn more about both events at pablocenter.org/all-events.
Pablo Center at the Confluence Grand Opening • Saturday, Sept. 22 • Grand opening celebration, noon-5:30pm, FREE • “Cabinet of Curiosities,” 7:30pm, RCU Theatre, tickets start at $30