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Craterian buys Scan Design building

Boosted by one of its primary supporters, the Craterian Performances Company will soon buy the Scan Design building in downtown Medford to help with its growing entertainment offerings.

The 4,292-square-foot complex, called the Collier Creative Center, is at 50 N. Fir St., at the intersection of Fir and Main streets. It will become a venue for youth theater, dance, music and scene rehearsals, along with shops for costumes, props and scenes, said Stephen McCandless, executive director of Craterian Performances.

"It's a more appropriate venue for those productions that we're already mounting, as well as a growth opportunity for things we don't have the capacity to do," McCandless said.

The purchase came after a donation of an undisclosed amount from longtime supporter James Morrison Collier for whom the main downtown theater, the Craterian Theater at The Collier Center for the Performing Arts, is named. Collier has also made significant donations to the Camelot Theatre in Talent and Medford's Holly Theatre.

The Collier Creative Center will offer rehearsal space for Teen Musical Theater of Oregon, Next Stage Rep, the Craterian's adult acting company, and Craterian Music Hall.

McCandless said the Craterian took over the teen theater in 2009, and offered three performances a year, in spring, summer and winter. It's become so popular that last summer two performances were offered. Younger children performed "The Lion King Jr." and older children performed "Hairspray."

Only a minimal amount of work will be needed on the Scan Design building, McCandless said. A new roof is required, but the interior is largely ready. A central area will replicate the stage and wings of the Craterian Theater to better prepare performers.

A representative from Scan Design could not be reached Wednesday to discuss the business's plans.

McCandless said more than $1 million will be spent to purchase the building and upgrade it.

McCandless said the Craterian will take possession of the building Feb. 28, and should be using it by March 1. An open house will be scheduled in the spring.

Rehearsals and other production activities previously were conducted at the Craterian and a leased space.

"We've pretty much overrun our program capacity," McCandless said.

McCandless said the Craterian often has 120 children register for a particular show, with about 70 for production. As a result, he said, there is a lot of juggling over the use of the space.

The Craterian had about 6,000 admissions for the teen performances last summer.

At the same time, the Craterian features 24 to 30 national and international touring acts a year, along with the symphony and other performances throughout the year.

"We're very busy," McCandless said.

Despite the variety of performances, ticket sales have not reached pre-recession levels, McCandless said, and there has been a 60-percent decline in space rental activity.

As a result, the Craterian has looked at adding other performances to continue to grow interest in the theater, he said.

While public performances won't be given in the Collier Creative Center, it will attract families to downtown Medford during the afternoon and evening hours, McCandless said. Rehearsals are also held on Saturdays.

— Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or dmann@mailtribune.com. Follow him on www.twitter.com/reporterdm.