The Stages at Northstar: A regional arts center for Truckee-Tahoe

LIKE GRASS VALLEY AND NEVADA CITY, Truckee also has been designated as a state Cultural District by the California Arts Council. Though known for its outdoor recreation, the region is growing as an arts destination. Locals are forging ahead with plans to build a theater, amphitheater and black box theater in a project known as “The Stages at Northstar” at a cost that could reach $30 million.

The plan is conceptual and subject to change, but a 650 seat theater and 3,500 seat amphitheater has been discussed for the 17-acre site near Northstar Drive and Hwy. 267. It is 10 minutes from downtown Truckee. “We’re building an iconic theater for great performances,” Keith Vogt, board member of the Tahoe Regional Arts Foundation, said in a presentation to the Placer County Board of Supervisors this summer.

“The Stages at Northstar” would fulfill a pressing need for a new performing arts center in the region. It also comes as ski resorts seek to offer more year-round activities. “In a class with performing arts facilities at other top-tier mountain towns, The Stages at Northstar will attract travelers and residents alike, producing a substantial positive year-round economic impact,” according to the group.

The architect is Williams + Paddon Architects + Planners, Inc. of Roseville, and the USC School of Dramatic Arts is a consultant.

Placer County, through its Transient Occupancy Tax grants program, allocated two phases of funding to the Tahoe Regional Arts Foundation for planning leading to development of its proposed Stages theater, totaling $249,900, according to a Placer County memo.

Work accomplished to date includes initial feasibility analysis, fund-raising plans, architectural drawings, video, and initiating the capital campaign. Next steps include design, environmental review and permitting.

Once complete, the 84,000 sq.-ft. complex is estimated to generate a $4 million per year positive economic impact, the memo said.

“We are continuing to expand our board and ambassadors, re-launching our capital campaign and forging new partnerships,” Vogt told the Placer County Board of Supervisors at a presentation this summer.

Lois and Scott Ewing of Quest Theaterworks in Grass Valley, dedicated to “small but mighty” theater, now are board members or advisors. The Reno Philharmonic also is one of the Foundation’s partners.

For more information about the project, visit

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