Sorg Opera Revitalization GroupSORG Board of Directors
SORG aims to provide programming and services that make an essential contribution to the cultural economy, economic revitalization, education, and quality of life of Middletown, Ohio and its region.
To become a center for, and partner in, the greater cultural, historical and economic communities of Middletown and the Cincinnati-Dayton Metroplex. It does so through:
• The presentation of professional and/or quality local musical and theatre productions;
• The presentation of classical, rock, jazz, blues, bluegrass and related music concerts;
• Dialogue and engagement of public and private partnerships;
• The organization’s commitment to content and services;
• The cultivation of diverse audiences, clients and partners; and
• The preservation and chronicling of the theater’s history and remaining contents, as a national historic landmark.
The Sorg Opera House is one of Middletown’s crown jewels, and really belongs to the whole community.
Sorg Opera Revitalization Group (SORG), a group of community and culture-minded entrepreneurs, considers the success of its agenda and management to depend upon public understanding, participation and support. Dialogue and engagement are deeply ingrained in the SORG team which believes in service to diverse audiences, the cultural economy in general, and a desire to obtain broad support for every aspect of our business. The Sorg Revitalization Project will be a hub for collaboration and community, entertainment, work-force creation, education and classes, forums, cultural events, a main theater, ballroom, banquet area, office and meeting spaces, galleries, coffee shop, food and tavern prospects, movies, etc. — all enhancing the downtown core of Middletown, Ohio. Organized around staged near-term priorities and resources, SORG’s plan is intentionally aligned with the existing regional cultural environment, local revitalization and regional economic trends, and key community concerns and interests which include education, outreach and development of public/private partnerships. These themes are the foundations of SORG’s strategic business intent. Immediate first year priorities for revitalization of the Opera House and commercial space include:
• Immediate funding to replace the roof and secure the building
• Funding for project management and development professional(s)
• Funding to commence an initial round of property reclamation and adaption
• Safety and stabilization of the complex
• Creation of public and private partnerships, including a volunteer corps
• Develop partnerships with regional educational institutions
• First phase facility reclamation: cleaning, safety reviews, plans, technical necessities, etc.
• Thorough plant review to itemize and categorize required and desired improvements
• Program development for enrolling public support for the Sorg project
• Securing operational funding, grants and sponsorships for staged facility development
• Public introduction and open house events
• Securing and leasing initial commercial vendors, operators and programming
• Education, dialogue and engagement with other regional communities
• Partial re-opening the complex to commercial use and performance events
• On-going planning centered on restoration objectives, means, and physical realities
• On-going operational and programming strategies
These priorities are intended to advance the Sorg into a fully self-reliant business. Ongoing development of community partnerships, consistent with our professional experience, will be important to the goal of self-reliance. Once established, we envision the Sorg complex as a vital part of downtown Middletown’s economic rebirth and the cultural heart of the region. SORG aims to provide programming and services that make an essential contribution to the cultural economy, economic revitalization, education, and quality of life of Middletown, Ohio and its region. We propose to revitalize and re-establish the Sorg Opera House as a multi-purpose performance venue and commercial destination, and catalyst for community economic development.
SORG, a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, will hold exclusive long-term ownership of the property upon the impending building’s title transfer from the current owners, Chuck Miller, Ken Bowman & Denise Brodsky.
SORG principals bring national and international experience to the project in diverse areas including: community relations; preservation; entrepreneurial activities; non-profit management; acquisitions; marketing; fund-raising; training; disaster planning and recovery; property development, management and design; event programming and production; hospitality and the arts.
SORG believes the viability of this project hinges on the growing sense of enthusiasm of Middletown’s community and professional administration, its commitment to revitalization, culture, education and financial support, as well as the geographical prospects for Middletown’s future.
The seemingly inevitable trend toward unification of the region puts Middletown, and the Sorg Opera House, squarely in the crosshairs of promising new developments. The Sorg Opera House, with its diverse assortment of performances venues and services, will become a magnetic core for that development.
Ongoing, comprehensive fund-raising campaigns and the creation of new property-based revenue centers will be the central engine for revitalization of the property.
These campaigns will seek grants, request major private and corporate donations, create sponsorships through devices such as naming rights, and create citizen-shared opportunities to spread the sense of community ownership. Private sector financial support is integral to achieving SORG’s objectives so regional business and civic leaders, area arts and non-profit organizations and the general public will be offered tailored investment opportunities offering a variety of benefits devised for varying participant interests.
These and other traditional fund-raising efforts will accompany revenue streams derived from rentals, leases, and performance-related income.
SORG fundraising will be developed around the concept of “Stages” through which a portfolio of project objectives can be managed. Traditional stages may include community fund-raising, on-site benefit events and regional outreach, grants, major donor development, naming rights, establishment of a “friends” and/or “stage hands” group, pro-bono trade out for services, establishment of long-term endowment and other general donor development activities.
What will early revitalization look like?
One of the early stages of development may include creation of social gathering spots like a coffee house, sandwich shop or other neighborhood gathering spot on the first floor that would cater to the downtown area. Other stages of revenue development might include tours in conjunction with the Beau Verre’s activities, partnerships with “First Friday” and other Middletown events, leasing of the theater, leasing the ballroom, SORG’s own productions in the ballroom or theater, development of rental space, or studio spaces, on the second and third floors of the commercial building, merchandise, concessions, on-line revenues, corporate sponsorships, and other areas to be explored.