Diamond Head Theatre, the nation’s third oldest continuously operating community theatre announced today that it’s entering the final phase of its capital campaign. $3.5 million is needed to finish the development of the new theatre.

The new structure will be built next to the existing theatre, which will allow shows and programs to continue throughout construction. Highlights will include the following: an almost 500-seat auditorium and stage, expanded dressing rooms, orchestra pit, fly loft, additional restrooms, and an expansive outdoor entrance overlooking newly created green space. Other amenities will include an expanded scene shop, loading dock and ultimately, expanded spaces for class offerings, nearly doubling enrollment capacity.

A 2007 building assessment deemed that a new structure would be more cost effective than renovating the existing theatre, which is a former USO movie house built for temporary use. Since then, planning has been underway.

“We have raised $16.8 million from corporate and private donors, as well as foundations, all who believe in the work of the theatre and its community value,” says Rick Ching, capital campaign chair. “Hawaii has suffered so much loss this year. We can’t imagine what our community would be like without this gem that brings people together in such a special way. It’s time for a new performing arts center and we’re in the final stretch to secure the remaining $3.5 million.”