Westport, N.Y. — The Depot Theatre in Westport, New York, has been recently awarded grants for technology improvements and expanded education programs. 

Technology Improvements

The New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) has awarded the Depot Theatre a $25,000 capital projects grant for a new scenic projection system. 

Scenic projection design technology is becoming more prevalent on Broadway, on the road, and in regional theaters nationwide. In short: it allows the ability to project images on the stage and to present changing scenery and truly mixed media productions combining live performances with filmed sequences. The system will largely eliminate the time and costs associated with building entirely physical sets while transforming the stage in more creative and exciting ways.

For the Depot Theatre, adding this technology presents a number of financial benefits: savings in personnel, time, materials, and storage space costs. It also provides an opportunity for the theatre’s scenic designers to implement more elaborate designs. In addition, this contemporary technology will be a great tool for teaching artists to include in training for Academy program participants who are interested in theatre technology careers.

“We’re grateful to NYSCA for this vital support,” said Kim Rielly, Depot Theatre’s Executive Director. “The projector system will not only enhance the quality and variety of the live theatre experience we can provide for our audiences but will be a sustainable solution to a number of capacity challenges that plague our small professional theatre.”

“The over 100 projects we’re supporting through this funding will showcase arts and cultural organizations across the state and spur economic development for decades to come,” Governor Hochul said. “From historic sites to new multi-use arts centers, these diverse projects will expand the accessibility and the sustainability of arts and culture organizations while growing local economies, driving tourism, and creating jobs all across New York State.”

The system will be purchased and staff training will occur in 2024 so that it can be used for the 2025 season.

Expanded Education Programs

The Charles R. Wood Foundation has awarded the Depot $15,000, and the Essex County Arts Council has awarded $750 in support of the Depot’s expanded Academy outreach and education program. 

The Depot Theatre Academy has implemented expanded programming in 2024, beginning with the addition of an opportunity for experienced student artists ages 13 and older enrolled in school, inclusive of home school and college. The program features the same process that professional artists experience on the main stage, with competitive auditions and demanding rehearsals, culminating in performances of THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE on the Depot Theatre’s main stage June 7-9.  

Expanded 2024 Academy Summer programming also includes a new program for 5-8-year-olds who are new to theatre from July 15-19 at the BVCS Mountain View Campus. The Depot will also host its three-week program for ages 8-18, culminating in three performances of SHREK THE MUSICAL JR. on August 2-4 at the Whallonsburg Grange Hall. 

The grant will support the Depot’s ability to offer scholarships for the summer programs as well as attendance at the annual New York State Theatre Education Association (NYSTEA) conference — an opportunity that is pivotal to the growth of young artists as they decide on their future careers. The Academy also seeks to increase participation by school districts in its Arts In Education programs during the school year.

Over the past five years, the Charles R. Wood Foundation has awarded nearly $10.2 million dollars to charitable organizations in the Capital Region, North Country, and western Vermont. “We are so pleased to be able to support so many worthwhile projects. From small community soup kitchens to the larger capital projects, we are committed to investing in children, healthcare, and the arts in our geographical focus area,” said Charlene Wood, Chair and Trustee.

The Essex County Arts Council administers the Cultural Assistance Program (CAP) Grants, which are funded by Essex County and the Essex County Board of Supervisors. 

“We are extremely appreciative of the continued commitment from the Essex County Arts Council, and for the generous support of the Charles R. Wood Foundation,” said Ginene Mason, Depot Theatre’s Director of Outreach and Education. “This funding will allow us to expand the reach of our summer programming, and our year-round Arts In Education programs, effectively introducing the arts to North Country students that are historically underserved.”

For more information about the Depot Theatre and the Academy program visit DepotTheatre.org.



The Depot Theatre is a non-profit, professional theatre located in a historic, functioning 1876 train station in Westport, N.Y., and it is the only theatre in the Adirondacks that operates under an agreement with Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States. 

The Depot Theatre’s 2024 programming is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Governor and the New York State Legislature. Additional support is provided by the Essex County Arts Council. The Depot Theatre 2024 Season is sponsored by the Rogers-Carroll Family Foundation.

The Depot Theatre Academy is a robust educational experience for area youth and a pathway for those interested in pursuing a profession in theatre—whether that’s backstage or on stage. The Depot Theatre 2024 Academy summer program is sponsored by the TrailNorth Federal Credit Union. The Academy is underwritten by the Brooks and Joan Fortune Family Foundation.


The mission of the New York State Council on the Arts is to foster and advance the full breadth of New York State’s arts, culture, and creativity for all. To support the ongoing recovery of the arts across New York State, the Council on the Arts will award $127 million in FY 2024, serving over 2,000 arts organizations and artists across all 10 state regions. The Council on the Arts further advances New York’s creative culture by convening leaders in the field and providing organizational and professional development opportunities and informational resources. Created by Governor Nelson Rockefeller in 1960 and continued with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature, the Council is an agency that is part of the Executive Branch. For more information on NYSCA, please visit www.arts.ny.gov, and follow NYSCA’s Facebook page, on X @NYSCArts and Instagram @NYSCouncilontheArts.


The Charles R. Wood Foundation was founded in 1978 with its mission to provide assistance to areas of special need in the Lake George Region and surrounding areas. Not-for-profit organizations with an emphasis on programs for children, healthcare, and the arts are the beneficiaries of Mr. Wood’s generosity. A Board of Trustees oversees the Foundation with a goal to preserve the mission established by Charles R. Wood.

The Essex County Arts Council is a 501c3 non-profit organization serving Essex County in the beautiful Adirondack region of upstate New York. 

Essex County Arts Council promotes and advocates a vibrant culture for the arts through an effective county-wide system to proactively connect organizations, artists, and students with full-time and seasonal residents and visitors.