NEW ALBANY, IN (WAVE) – There are many new restaurants and retail stores in New Albany. But locals say the only thing missing now downtown is more entertainment.
That will soon change as a community theater group is moving into the city's historic first bank building.
The State Bank of Indiana was built in 1837. Since the bank closed, the building has served as a church, home to the Red Cross, and even a nightclub. Soon, TheatreWorks of Southern Indiana will open with big plans for the future.
"I jokingly say the front doors have nose prints on them because while I'll be in here working, I keep seeing people curious about what's going on," TheatreWorks of Southern Indiana Artistic Director Chris Bundy said.
Everyone wants to know what's next for historic Main Street.
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"We have wonderful restaurants," Bundy said. "There are so many neat shops downtown, but after you've had your meal in the evening, what do you do?."
Bundy said he can now answer that question. TheatreWorks of Southern Indiana is in its second season and the group really wanted a permanent home.
"This building was built in 1837 as the first bank," Bundy said. "It was built by Culbertson of Culbertson Mansion fame and actually our lounge upstairs was his office for the bank."
After he toured the old state bank, he knew he had found the place.
"I really wanted an intimate, little experience for people," Bundy said. "We seat about 100, and I love the challenge of taking a show and adapting it to a small space."
Next door at Cafe 157, owner Linda Williams said she can't wait for the theater's opening.
"We are so excited, so happy, we've already welcomed them into the neighborhood," Williams said.
She started a fundraiser to help the non profit theater company.
"We are giving away some free dinners, getting people to buy chances and 100% of the proceeds will go to TheatreWorks," Williams said.
To help pay the bills, a beautiful, small ballroom is on the second floor. The space can be rented for parties, showers and weddings for up to 80 people.
"It's just a unique room and actually when it was built, this floor didn't exist," Bundy said. "When it was the bank, you would come in and look all the way up to the dome."
TheatreWorks is inviting the community to come out for an open house on Saturday from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. You can tour the building and purchase season tickets. The actors are gearing up for Rumors, a comedy by Neil Simon which will debut on June 1.
To learn more about TheatreWorks, click here.