Jaffrey's Park Theatre names CEO, says ground breaking not far behindBy MEGHAN PIERCE
Union Leader Correspondent February 21. 2016 7:37PM
JAFFREY —The Park Theatre has hired its first employee and hopes to break ground this spring.
Stevens Pell Jackson Jr. stepped in as the Park Theatre CEO and managing director this week.
Starting this spring, Jackson will begin planning programming for the theater for not one, but two venues for the yet-to-be-built theater.
“This means we will start programming for the theater and start getting ready to open. And we’re hoping to begin this process this spring,” said Caroline Hollister, chairman of the Park Theatre Board, on Thursday.
Hollister said the Park Theatre plans to open an office for Jackson on Main Street as early as April and hopes to break ground on the Main Street site for the theater in May.
Jackson was hired 10 years to the day the non-profit board bought the old theater with plans to restore it as not only a movie house, but as a performance venue for the region, Hollister said.
Jackson comes to the Park Theatre with a varied background — actor, ad man, and founder of a performing arts and film center in Cape May, N.J.
For more than 20 years, he managed the Anheuser-Busch account at the award-winning ad agency DDB — Doyle Dane Bernbach.
According to the Park Theatre, “His team’s advertising campaigns for Budweiser & Bud Light won every major industry award including Cannes Gold Lions, Effies, Clios and Emmys,” and include such culture icons as the “Whassup!?” and the “Spuds MacKenzie” campaigns.
In 2007, Jackson started the Beach Theatre Foundation to help save the historic theater in Cape May.
He appeared at the theater’s 2015 annual meeting in the staged reading of O’Henry’s novella “The Gift” as the young husband.
Since 2010, he has operated his own marketing consultancy firm, Pell Partners.
Most recently, he was director of marketing for Peterborough Players.
Jackson has been a Jaffrey resident since 2012 and in 2013 he began assisting the Park Theatre board in its development of a branding platform for the theater.
The Park Theatre first opened in Jaffrey in 1922 and was the center of community life as a movie and vaudeville house for 54 years until it closed in 1976.
About 10 years ago, Hollister helped start a grassroots campaign to restore the theater. The group purchased the building in 2006.
Through the planning process, it became apparent the old building would be too costly to refurbish. So in 2013, the old movie house was demolished.
The new building will house two venues, the main theater that will seat about 370 people, and a 100-seat auditorium.
Both venues will be able to host a variety of live performances as well as show movies.
“A movie could be going on upstairs and the Raylynmor Opera could be rehearsing upstairs,” Hollister said.
The Park Theatre will be a venue for professional touring companies and noted artists as well as for local school productions, Hollister said.