Q. What is the mailing address for the Miller Theater?
A. P.O. Box 579
Augusta, GA 30903
Q. What is the plan for the Miller Theater renovation?
A. Once renovated, the Miller Theater will provide a venue in Augusta to perform, present, and teach. Symphony Orchestra Augusta (SOA) will re-animate this historic community theater as a multi-use performance space, capable of showcasing both amplified and non-amplified music, drama, dance and film. A new Music Institute will be housed in the adjacent building, which will connect to the Theater and will also provide expanded backstage areas for performers and storage, as well as classrooms, patron space and practice rooms.
Q. Who will Miller serve?
A. The Miller will serve the people of Augusta and surrounding areas. The Miller will not only be home to Augusta’s Symphony, but also a venue for multiple performing arts and education activities. The Miller will welcome local performing arts groups to its stage as well as top-ranked national and regional performers. The Music Institute will be home for diverse educational programs serving schools, students, adults and children from throughout the region.
Q. What changes will be necessary for the Miller Theater to be a multi-use performing hall?
A. The Miller Theater was constructed primarily as a movie and vaudeville house with unparalleled acoustical qualities. The theater has a traditional proscenium stage, which will be enlarged – making it wider and deeper in order to accommodate a variety of artistic presentations. All interior furnishings and fixtures will be new. Unique artistic features original to the building will be restored where possible, including wall murals, inlays, fountains, and more.
Q. Is the Miller structure in good shape?
A. Yes. The Miller property was designed by famed theater architect Roy Benjamin in 1938 in conjunction with the best sound engineers in the country. The structure consists primarily of concrete and heavy gauge steel reinforcements. Some of the supporting beams in the theater were the largest ever shipped by rail in the state of Georgia. The building has remained unoccupied for thirty years and shows natural signs of aging, but most all are cosmetic not structural. The Art Moderne architectural style of the building, unique in Augusta, is well-preserved.
Q. Is the Miller worth the price of renovation?
A. Absolutely. The economic impact of an active arts and cultural district has proven to be substantial — improving surrounding property values, adding new traffic for merchants and restaurants, enticing more companies to relocate to our area, creating new jobs, and helping to rebuild a vital residential area. All of these things make Augusta an alluring place to live and increase the standards of living for everyone here.
Q. What are the parking options for the Miller?
A. In addition to parking along Broad Street and the middle parking wells on Broad, there is a new parking deck on the corner of Reynolds and 9th Streets, across from the new Convention Center. Public parking is also available in the Board of Education parking deck behind the Miller Theater on Ellis Street. The Miller and SOA organizations are also exploring shuttling patrons to and from some of the common parking points. The Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau is currently working to provide identification signs on all available public parking in downtown Augusta.
Q. What effect will the reopening of the Miller have on other Augusta performing halls?
A. Augusta has three primary performing venues: The Imperial – which seats 700-800, the Bell – which seats 2800, and the James Brown Arena – which seats 7800. The Miller will provide Augusta with a 1300-seat venue, with extraordinary acoustics, that meets an unmet need for a mid-sized venue. It will be the ideal size for the Symphony as well as other local performing arts groups that currently have no appropriate space.
Q. Who will operate the Miller Theater?
A. Miller Theater, LLC will oversee operations of the Miller. It is a newly formed, wholly owned subsidiary of Augusta Symphony, Inc., doing business as SOA, which is a 60 year old not-for-profit organization accountable under federal law and the laws of the State of Georgia to provide a benefit to the public. Miller Theater, LLC will employ an independent staff of technicians and theater management personnel to market and manage the theater.
Q. Will the new Miller be a sustainable enterprise?
A. Webb Management Services, Inc. developed a business plan for the Miller. The plan draws on a healthy mix of earned, philanthropic and investment income sources for revenue. SOA and Miller Theater, LLC will monitor the plan and continue to develop it based on actual experience. Once the Miller opens, operating costs for the Symphony and the Music Institute will continue to be funded by ticket sales, subscriptions, sponsors, program fees, grants, and the generosity of Symphony patrons. Operating costs for the majority of performances and activities at the Miller will be funded by tickets and series subscriptions for those events, sponsors, and concession sales (to include wine, liquor, sodas, and snacks, and rentals).
Q. What will be the impact of this project on Symphony Orchestra Augusta?
A. “To do nothing different in the future than what has been done in the past is not sustainable.” That is the stated perspective of the SOA Board of Directors. Realization of the plans for the Miller is likely to position Symphony Orchestra Augusta for a strong and vibrant future.
Q. When will the Miller be open?
A. Construction is scheduled for late 2015 – early 2016, conditional on funds committed. Assuming plans are implemented according to schedule, Augusta will be able to enjoy the Miller in late 2017.