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Hylton Performing Arts Center Breaks Ground $8.5 Million Addition; New Education and Rehearsal Wing will provide increased practice and rehearsal space for students and community

September 16, 2016
Contact: Press & Media Relations Coordinator (703-993-9808)

For general information about tickets, seating, parking, etc., for performances and events happening at the Hylton Performing Arts Center, please contact the ticket office directly at 703-993-7759.

Manassas, VA, September 16, 2016 — George Mason University broke ground this week on an $8.5 million, 14,000-square-foot addition to the Hylton Performing Arts Center on its Science and Technology Campus in Prince William County.

The Education and Rehearsal Wing, slated to open in 2018, will be used by regional arts organizations, Mason students, Prince William County and city of Manassas schools, and the business community.

The 10-room addition, next to the Hylton’s Gregory Family Theater, will be accessible from the Didlake Grand Foyer. It will feature six practice/teaching rooms, two classroom/ensemble rooms and two rehearsal spaces. The smaller of the two rehearsal halls will be named the Ballard Postma Studio in recognition of a generous gift from Hans and Mary Postma of Haymarket, Va. Ballard is Mary Postma’s family name.

“This campus is where STEM becomes STEAM—Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics,” said Ángel Cabrera, George Mason’s president. “Discoveries of all kinds are being made here, and with this new wing, even more musicians, actors and dancers will have the opportunity to develop their skills and pursue their artistic passions.”

“This much-needed new space will allow creativity and collaboration to flourish at the Hylton Center,” said Rick Davis, the center’s executive director and dean of Mason’s College of Visual and Performing Arts. “Our community has spoken. This beautiful wing will be filled with teaching, learning and rehearsals on the day it opens.”

The project is funded in part by $6 million from the Commonwealth of Virginia, and through the continued support of retired Virginia Sen. Charles Colgan.

An additional $2.5 million gift from the Cecil and Irene Hylton Foundation, along with the Postmas’ gift and other private donations to be sought over the next two years, will complete the funding for the wing, including adding state-of-the-art equipment.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held Thursday and attended by about 200 guests, who heard remarks from Cabrera and Davis.

The project is expected to take 12 to 18 months to complete and is planned to open in time for the 2018-19 performance season at the Hylton Center.

About the Hylton Performing Arts Center

Dedicated to bringing a world-class performing arts venue to the Prince William region, the Hylton Performing Arts Center was born out of a partnership among Prince William County, George Mason University, the city of Manassas and the Commonwealth of Virginia, as well as individuals and businesses in the private sector. Soaring more than nine stories and boasting a stunning mix of copper, glass and masonry, the 85,000-square-foot center is home to two unparalleled performance venues for local arts groups and performers from around the world, in addition to university-related activities.

The Hylton Center is home to many distinctive spaces:

  • Modeled after the intimate European opera houses of the 19th century, Merchant Hall is a 1,123-seat multipurpose proscenium theater encircled by 27 private boxes that rise three levels.
  • The Gregory Family Theater is a flexible, 4,400-square-foot space that can be configured for many different types of performances and events.
  • The Didlake Grand Foyer, with its sweeping staircase, provides an ideal setting for community, corporate and social events.

About George Mason University

George Mason University is Virginia’s largest public research university. Located near Washington, D.C., Mason enrolls more than 34,000 students from 130 countries and all 50 states. Mason has grown rapidly over the past half-century and is recognized for its innovation and entrepreneurship, remarkable diversity and commitment to accessibility. Mason is also one of the best values in higher education, producing graduates who lead all Virginia public universities with the highest annual salaries. Learn more at gmu.edu.

About the Faster Farther Campaign

Faster Farther is a comprehensive $500 million fundraising effort to secure Mason’s place as the intellectual cornerstone that our region needs and deserves—providing an education that makes our region healthier, stronger and more culturally vibrant. As part of Mason’s commitment to world-class scholarship and students, the university is expanding its horizons through the arts across the Northern Virginia region. See where Mason is going at fasterfarther.gmu.edu.

Hyla Helsel, Interim Director of Marketing

703-993-9808 or hhelsel@gmu.edu