By IAN MUNRO
Daily News-Record 8/5/19
BRIDGEWATER — As tickets for the new multipurpose theater, the Sipe Center, went live on Thursday, Jay Litten thought they would sell only a couple of dozen.
By midday Sunday, the center had sold about 115 and rising, he said.
“The response has been tremendous,” said Litten, Bridgewater’s town manager.
The Sipe Center is a $ 1.3 million building for live music, theater and meetings, located on the corner of North Main and East College streets in downtown Bridgewater.
Nearly all of the tickets were sold to people who live in Bridgewater, Litten said, but anybody can buy them.
“We haven’t done much in the way of advertising or encouragement except in the town of Bridgewater,” he said. The $125 tickets are “flex passes,” Litten said. With the passes, customers can choose up to five shows to go to.
“The advantage to buying the pass was for some people it would be a discount pass on what shows you selected,” he said. “And for others, it was an opportunity to buy tickets early and be assured of a seat.”
Wilda Long, a Dayton resident, said she would probably buy tickets to events at the Sipe Center in the future.
“I think it will be good for the town,” she said.
She said she was worried about the parking situation.
The theater can seat around 154 and has more than 100 parking spots planned for within one-tenth of a mile, Litten said in an email.
Over 40 spots will be available in the BB&T Bank parking lot at 111 N. Main St. when the bank is not open and over 50 are on nearby streets, he said.
And that parking will be needed as the Sipe Center is another attraction that will bring people into Bridgewater, said Angela Bolton, a Harrisonburg resident.
Bolton and her grandson, Waylan, come to Bridgewater for mini-golf and ice skating, she said.
When asked what they would enjoy seeing at the Sipe Center, Bolton responded with musicals and country music, especially by local performers.
“We would also go just to support the community,” she said.
The center is slated to open on Nov. 1 with a performance by The Hunts, an indie folk band from Chesapeake.
Litten has tickets for the first night, and is not just looking forward to the music, he said.
“It’s just going to be an incredible evening when we open the building up for the first time,” Litten said.