Venetian Masquerade will highlight Opera House’s past, present, future

If you’ve ever wanted to get a sneak peek inside normally closed-off portions of the historic Howell Opera House, and find out more about restoring it to its former glory, an event on Oct. 18 is just the ticket.

The Livingston Arts Council will host a Venetian Masquerade from 7-9pm at the Opera House, as the group looks to shine the spotlight on how far the rejuvenation of the downtown landmark has come, and to kick off the next phase of the process.

The event, which is open to the public, will feature appetizers and drinks on the Opera House’s fully renovated lower level, with performances from local musicians and entertainers, including members of the Livingston Symphony Orchestra and the Livingston Chorale. Tours of the yet-to-be renovated upper levels of the Opera House will be available, as well as designs and artist renderings of the planned renovations.

This is how the interior of the Opera House looks at present. Photo by Richard Lim, Lim Photography

Amy Clark, marketing coordinator for the Livingston Arts Council, says the Venetian Masquerade will kick off the next phase of fundraising for the Opera House, called “Restore the Glory: Act II.” The ultimate goal, she said, is to turn the Opera House into a regional arts venue while preserving one of the most important historic structures in the area.

The Livingston Arts Council purchased the Opera House in 2000, and thanks to generous donations and grants, completed the renovation of the first level in 2006. Now, Clark says, the goal is to restore to full performing arts capacity the second and third levels, which house the original 19th century theater. When complete, the building will provide both a performing arts facility for the community, as well as space for private rentals; it will also increase the building capacity from 200 to 600 people.

Costumes are not required but encouraged at the event, and Venetian-style masks will be given to all who attend. Tickets are not required, but the minimum suggested donation is $100.

More information is available at


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