Fort Hill Performing Arts Center, Inc.(FHPAC) has been formed to provide the upstate New York region with a well-equipped commercial stage and production facility at a reasonable cost to the user. The theatre is located in the former Canandaigua Academy on North Main Street. It is a housed within The Fort Hill residential apartment complex. FHPAC makes use of what was once an an unused portion of the apartment complex. FHPAC is centrally located, minutes from major routes and accessible by public transportation.
FHPAC is governed by its Board of Directors. FHPAC is incorporated under New York State Not-for-Profit status 501c3. Donations are tax deductible.
Gordon Estey (President of the FHPAC Board) attended school in this building, learning about theatre production on this stage, and then managing this theatre before starting his career of 44 years in technical theatre, including Broadway summer stock and professional lighting and scenic design, stage management, facility management and technical direction. He has been involved with over 460 productions to date. Gordon serves as lighting designer and technical director for Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Rochester City Ballet, Rochester Broadway Theatre League, Finger Lakes Opera and many local and regional companies. Gordon owns his own theatrical rental and production company formed in 1973 and serves as a sales rep for Reynolds drapery, builder of theatrical draperies and accessories. He previously served as director for fundraising events for UR Thompson health and director of events at Sonnenberg Gardens and many venues throughout the state over the last 25 years. Gordon recently retired from Canandaigua City School District having been manager of the Academy Theatre for 25 years. Gordon was one of the designers of the new Academy Theatre in 1985.
Sueann Townsend (Executive Director) Sueann's duties include policy and proceedure development, operations, marketing and programing. Sueann enjoyed a 20-year career on stage as a professional dancer in Classical Ballet companies, Modern Dance companies, commercial shows, and as a freelance artist nationally and internationally. After concluding her performing career, she worked as a teacher, coach, ballet master, and repetiteur. Sueann worked as a stage electrician, spotlight operator, video wall engineer, and in production management for both stage and corporate events as a member of I.A.T.S.E 720 in Las Vegas. Sueann was the Executive/Artistic Director of Amherst (Massachusetts) Ballet from 2011-2017. During this time, she reinvigorated the 40-year old organization through ambitious programming balanced with fiscal responsibility. She began the Ballet for All! initiative which brought engagement with classical ballet training to dancers aged 8 to 80 throughout three Massachusetts counties, and to the inner-city children of Springfield, Massachusetts. As part of this initiative, she produced a week-long workshop with Ilya Kuznetsov, master teacher from the Bolshoi Ballet Academy. She initiated AB’s first corporate giving schema, first major grant-writing endeavor, and successfully led many collaborative projects between AB and other regional arts organizations.
Tyler J. Struble, (Operations Manager) Tyler relocated in September 2019 to Canandaigua to become the Operations Director for Fort Hill Performing Arts Center and is responsible for the box office, concessions and volunteer staff. Tyler started his career with Rochester City Ballet in 2007, having worked as a stage hand, property master, assistant technical director, and stage manager. Tyler comes from a background in technical theatre having worked for Rochester Broadway Theatre League, Finger Lakes Opera, Academy Players and as an event director for UR Thompson Health. He studied technical theatre at Nazareth College and completed a degree in accounting at New England University before moving to New York City and working in corporate accounting and HR during the past four years. Tyler worked for Raul Avila, Inc. assisting in the floral design and set up of the 2019 Tony Awards as well as the MET Museum Gala.
FHPAC Board of Directors: Gordon J. Estey, President; Rosemary Park, Vice President; Nancy Yacci, Secretary; Deborah Wilbur, Treasurer. At large members; Linda Bell, William Kenyon, Scott Kesel, Ellen Polimeni, Belle Sargent, Benjamin Willmott.
Volunteers assist as stage crew, ushers, ticket takers, cleaners and event management. To inquire about volunteering see the tab titled Volunteer.
FHPAC management will train and provide educational opportunities for local high school students to work in a commercial theatre along with adult volunteers in many production and management positions.