2013 Governors Arts Awards
Community Impact Award
Award Recipient: Stephen Dignazio, Executive Director of the Colonial Theatre; Bethlehem, NH
In a little over thirteen years, the Colonial Theatre has grown into a major cultural institution for the North Country and become an economic engine that has enlivened Bethlehem’s Main Street. Executive Director Stephen Dignazio’s tireless pursuit of excellence is responsible for the overall preservation and countless facility improvements to this 98-year-old historic building. His programming vision has enabled the theatre to partner with local schools, public libraries and nonprofit organizations ranging from health and social service providers to economic development advocates. From May through November, the Colonial offers a wide array of films, live entertainment, community events and children’s programming that provide access to the arts for residents of and visitors to this rural part of New Hampshire.
As Marilinne Cooper, Executive Director of WREN (Women’s Rural Entrepreneurial Network) stated in her support letter, “The Colonial has steadily grown into a driving force of Bethlehem’s creative economy, bringing quality films, live entertainment and arts programming to a culturally deprived area and improving the quality of life in the North Country. Over the last decade, the 100-year old building has been renovated and improved, while still maintaining its original Art Deco charm. The Colonial has made itself an integral part of the local community…Thanks to the creative efforts and persistence of local leaders like Stephen, Bethlehem is experiencing a renaissance as a colorful cultural center, of which the Colonial Theatre is the centerpiece.”
November 14, 2013