If you build a stage, the world is your oyster, so they say. Well a stage may soon come to Germantown.
The Chew and Chelten Community Development Corporation wants to create a community center and theater in East Germantown. The Theater and Cultural Arts Center will serve young adults in the area and provide programs in theater, art, entrepreneurship and more. While Germantown has three recreation centers, this will be the first theater-based center in the area.
The idea comes from CDC Executive Director Douglas Rucker. He has a theater and art background and says the center can be more than a place for the arts, but will also serve as a “haven” for the community.
“My idea is not necessarily that you go on to Broadway or Hollywood, but that it might change the course of your present direction,” Rucker says. “For me, I hope to p see a young guy who may be very street oriented, come in there, and it changes his life.”
Rucker also says the East Germantown Area still lacks resources and opportunities. Last year East Germantown had three times more homicides and weapon violations than West Central Germantown. The gun violence between young adults in the neighborhood and citywide was an additional factor in formulating the idea.
“We need something that this community has never had,” Rucker says. ”I want adults. These 18-year-olds, 17-year-olds, 14, 20 these are the ones that we’re losing.”
The center is one of many focuses of the CDC. The Chew and Chelten group was established in August 2020. Although they are new, CDC member Lauren Smith said the center and corporation’s goal is to bring new opportunities to East Germantown.
“I think it’s an important outlet,” Smith says. “Sometimes young adults think theater isn’t cool, but once you plant that seed, people will benefit from it.”
The group hopes to purchase an old theater on Chelten Ave. to serve as the center. In the meantime, the group has received state funding to produce three projects.
To learn more about the Chew & Chelten CDC, visit their website.