How Theatre Makes Community: An Interview with Chris Silva

We had a great session On May 12 at the Elmwood!!



Join us for future Second Saturday events–   June 9 and July 14. 

Working in the 70’s and 80’s with the likes of Sam Shepard and Arthur Miller, Ed Harris and Anne Meara, producer director Chris Silva brought two decades of theatre experience when he came to the Hudson Valley in the early 90’s. Running the Bardavon and UPAC, saving the Hudson Valley Philharmonic, consulting with Bethel Woods and other venues throughout upstate, Silva is a major force in the regional theatre movement. Almost 25 years since he started this gig, what has he learned that he can share with us?

About Chris Silva:
In 1994 Chris became Executive Director of the 944 seat Bardavon 1869 Opera House in Poughkeepsie, New York.  Chris has overseen the theatre’s dramatic growth from an $800,000 annual operating budget in 1994 to its present $4 million annual budget and the completion of over $10 million in capital projects.  Besides presenting illustrious artists as diverse as Itzhak Perlman, Al Pacino, Diana Ross and Bob Dylan, he has established major events outside the theatre’s walls, including the Hudson River Arts Festival, Celebration of Lights and Kids Expo and has spearheaded the expansion of the theatre’s community outreach, daytime children’s programming and in-school residencies which reach 20,000 children each year.

In 1999 Chris oversaw the rescue from bankruptcy of the region’s oldest professional symphony orchestra, the Hudson Valley Philharmonic, which the Bardavon now manages and presents. In 2002 the Bardavon received New York State’s highest cultural recognition, the Governor’s Arts Award.  In May 2006 the Bardavon took over the management and operation of the 1500 seat Ulster Performing Arts Center (UPAC) in Kingston, New York and presents in both venues. From 2006 to 2017 the Bardavon completed $10 million in renovations on its Kingston theatre. Chris and Bardavon Production Manager Stephen LaMarca were operating consultants from 2004-06 during the creation of the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in Bethel, New York and since 2006 have served as program consultants for the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. In 2017 the Bardavon opened the Hutton Brickyards, a 3500 capacity space on the Hudson River in Kingston with two sold out Bob Dylan concerts.

Steve Taylor takes the stage with Chris to talk about how theatre can make a community more vibrant.  Originally from Pennsylvania, Steve Taylor received a BFA in Theater from West Virginia University, then spent the next dozen years performing on stages and sets all over the Northeast. In 1994 he switched gears and began a long career in the IT Department of the international law firm Sullivan & Cromwell. The Elmwood Playhouse has been his creative home for the last eleven years. He has served on the Elmwood Board of Directors since 2014. In 2016 he was elected board president.


About Elmwood Playhouse
The goal of the 99 seat Elmwood Playhouse is to present to the community plays of cultural value. The theatre lives to further the individual abilities of the members through play reading, discussion of plays, stage craft and stage performances. They work in a spirit of cheerful willingness and cooperation for the establishment of a community playhouse.

Limited seating. General admission:$16
Members of ACOR and Elmwood: $8
Ticket price includes all fees. Get tickets here. 




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