Theater towns forge alliance

Aitkin, Minn., and Ballinasloe, Co. Galway, discovered something in common and so have become “sister cities.” The link is being forged around the fact that they

are both renovating historical performing-arts spaces.

The Butler Building, which was built in 1904 and housed the Aitkin Opera House until just prior to World War II, is being renovated and restored to its original integrity. Meanwhile, Ballinasloe has plans to renovate the 1847-built Town Hall Theatre.

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Sylvia Allen, the owner of the Butler Building in who had visited the Irish Festival and Events Association (AOiFE) a number of times as a keynote speaker, suggested the new relationship.

The partnership will look to share knowledge between the two entities on governance, fundraising, and programming. After the initial development phase of 12-18 months, a more comprehensive program will evolve, it’s hoped, with co-programming, visiting showcase productions, satellite up-links

of performances and the development and nurturing of young talent.

For more information on the Butler Building and the Theatre partnership, contact Sylvia Allen at