The Salem News Covers Plan by Northeast Arc and Peabody Man Streets to Hire an Event Coordinator

PEABODY — While the city restores Wiggin Auditorium to its long-ago luster as a prominent performance venue, it’s looking for help planning and scheduling future shows.

The city is partnering with Northeast Arc and Peabody Main Streets to hire an event coordinator. This person would be based out of the ArcWorks Community Art Center on Foster Street and would split their time managing, promoting and overseeing programming at the Arc’s new black box theater, Main Streets events and the City Hall auditorium.

The plan for the city, said Mayor Ted Bettencourt, is to expand beyond the popular outdoor summer concert series and holiday concerts inside the Wiggin and roll out a new series of concerts and special events next spring in the historic auditorium. First up is a Halloween Monster Mash on Oct. 19.

“We want to try to do kind of what happens at Lynn Auditorium, (but) on a smaller scale,” Bettencourt said, noting the Wiggin can only comfortably seat about 500 people compared to 2,000 in Lynn.

Wiggin Auditorium occupies most of the top two floors at City Hall. The building served as both town hall and opera house when it was built in 1883.

It’s about creating nightlife, the mayor said, and he feels strongly that the city and its partners are off to a good start with the black box theater and the Wiggin.

“We want to try to bring people into the city so they can spend a night downtown,” he said, adding that those people will likely then patronize the restaurants and other shops in the area.

The person most often tasked with juggling all this coordination now for the city is Mary Bellavance in the mayor’s office, along with Community Development staff, in addition to their regular duties. But an event coordinator, Bettencourt said, could focus on bringing in more performers, concerts and other entertainment.

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