The Atlanta Ballet and Atlanta Opera will perform in the City Springs Performing Arts Center in spring 2019, becoming the first major arts organizations announced for Sandy Springs’ new civic center.

The new City Springs Theatre Company, a musical company, also will perform five shows in the 2018-19 inaugural season, the city announced.

The Byers Theatre in City Springs as it appeared from the stage last month. (John Ruch)

No production names or dates were identified by the city, and the ballet and opera are still working on their 2018-19 season scheduling. Atlanta Ballet spokesperson Aine Imbach said that “the performances at City Springs will act as an expansion of our current venues” and will be an “add-on performance” outside regular-season subscriptions and performances.

Atlanta Opera spokesperson Scott Hazleton declined to say whether his organization’s plans involve an addition to its schedule or pulling out of other longtime venues, such as the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center. However, he said, the Atlanta Opera 2018-19 season details will be announced next week.

More City Springs bookings, likely also involving brand-name organizations, are expected in coming weeks. A two-week grand opening of arts events is expected to be announced for August.

The Atlanta Opera was among the arts organizations that toured City Springs last summer, also including the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival and the local Act3 Productions theater company. Mayor Rusty Paul previously said he has spoken repeatedly with officials at Atlanta’s Woodruff Arts Center — which includes the orchestra, the Alliance Theatre and the High Museum of Art — about hosting performances and exhibits.

The booking of such major and respected organizations as the ballet and opera marks early success for Sandy Springs’ ambition to make the civic center a regional arts capital.

“Providing educational excellence and the highest quality entertainment through the arts is an important goal for the Performing Arts Center,” Paul said in a press release. “It is an honor to have such strong partnerships as we launch City Springs, leading with a solid foundation to bring world-class programming to Sandy Springs and the North Fulton area.”

Tomer Zvulun, the Atlanta Opera’s general and artistic director, praised City Springs and its 1,100-seat Byers Theatre.

“We look forward to producing powerful renditions of great opera in the new, state-of-the-art facility at City Springs,” he said in a press release. “The auditorium is similar to the size and intimacy of European opera houses, allowing us to deliver the high-quality experiences that audiences have come to expect from the Atlanta Opera. The location is equally outstanding, and will help us reach new audiences across the state.”

“We are thrilled to expand the reach of Atlanta Ballet performances by participating in the inaugural year of the City Springs Performing Arts Center,” said Atlanta Ballet President & CEO Arturo Jacobus in a press release. “The new venue nurtures the vital arts communities around the city of Atlanta, and we are honored to contribute to this growth.”

The City Springs Theatre Company is a musical outfit that will be run by Brandt Blocker, the former director of the Atlanta Lyric Theatre in Marietta Square. It was incorporated with the state earlier this year by Sandy Springs resident Steven Hauser, and the city’s booking announcement revealed some others involved: Peggy and Jerry Stapleton, and Jan Collins, who is well-known from the Sandy Springs Society and currently serving on the board of the Sandy Springs Foundation, a fundraising and programming nonprofit for City Springs.

The theater company is being established by part of a $2.5 million gift from Ken Byers, the head of the foundation, and his wife Tricia, which also got their name on the main theater.

“It is exhilarating to be able to pull the passion and enthusiasm for the arts that this community has, and draw from the immense talent within the region to create memorable, high-quality performances,” Blocker said in a press release. “And to be able to do so in such a first-class facility is the rarest of opportunities.”

City and foundation officials have previously said a June 9 event in the new City Green park is in the works – possibly the annual Food That Rocks restaurant event. Mayor Rusty Paul’s annual “State of the City” speech is slated to be held there in June, and a Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta fundraiser may be coming in October.

The City Springs complex — located between Johnson Ferry Road and Mount Vernon Highway at Roswell Road — also includes a new City Hall, retail space and housing. It is set to open in phases this year, with the housing within the next few weeks; the park and City Hall in the spring or summer; and the theater spaces in August and September. For more information, see citysprings.com.

Updated version: This story has been updated with further comments from the Atlanta Ballet and the Atlanta Opera and a correction from the ballet about its performance.

 

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