Milton Theatre is now offering artists playing its stage a whole new amenity: an artists’ residence two doors down from the theater’s home on Union Street.
The theater began leasing the property at 102 Union St. last year, and theater marketing director J.P. Lacap said the residence is a win-win for both artists and the theater.
“A lot of artists, especially nationally touring acts, have a radius clause included in their contract. They would often say that the accommodations should not be more than a certain distance from the venue. This has been a challenge in the past, especially with no commercial hotel/motel options within the downtown area. Also, we often struggle with availability and costs of housing during the peak summer months,” he said.
When the Union Street home became available in March of last year, the theater was able to lease the property with an eye toward purchasing it outright within the next six months, Lacap said.
Besides giving artists a place to stay close to the theater, Lacap said the house also allows for access to the parking lot at the back of the building, improving the load-in process as artists can now move their equipment in through the backstage doors.
The home is two stories with a living room/bedroom on the first floor, three bedrooms on the second floor and a master loft with its own bathroom. The home also has an open front porch and a screened-in porch on the second floor.
Lacap said the theater plans to add more furnishings and decorations with themes for each room as budget allows. He said the first guests to stay were opera singer Terry Barber and Broadway performer Michelle Foster back in August. As COVID-19 restrictions have started to loosen and artists have begun booking shows again, Lacap said stays have begun to pick up, with multiple groups staying in the past month. It’s quite a change from before, he said, when artists would have to stay at chain motels in Lewes, Rehoboth Beach and Milford, with some having to stay as far away as Dover during peak summer season.
“We’re hoping as things start to open up that we can get to host more touring artists in the coming months,” Lacap said.