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Performing arts group celebrates grand opening at Sunrise Mall

Attendees mingle during a grand opening ceremony for Royal Stage at Sunrise Mall on Sept. 9, 2022. // M. Hazlip

By Sara Beth Williams–
A local performing arts group celebrated the grand opening of a new dedicated performance space inside the Sunrise Mall on Friday.

The Sept. 9 ribbon cutting for Royal Stage Performing and Visual Arts’ brand-new studio and performance space took place at the organization’s new location, located inside Sunrise Mall between Macy’s Mens and Zumiez.

The interior features a small platform stage, black box style, only feet from the audience. Several rows of chairs were set out for guests to sit and talk while an array of solo and group performances from Royal Stage students took place throughout the evening in open-mic style. Attendees also filled padded benches that lined the walls.

Two tables of refreshments were available for attendees while they celebrated with each other and listened to performances. Guests were also invited to autograph their name on the wall directly backstage.

Arielle Hoekstra, an art teacher and theater and dance participant with Royal Stage, said the construction of a new studio has been an “absolute blessing.”

Diane Ebbitt, executive director of the Citrus Heights Chamber of Commerce, said in an interview that the opening of the new studio is “fabulous,” adding that the theater will bring more patrons and families to Sunrise Mall.

“I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for the kids of Citrus Heights to be able to have a place to go and live out their dreams,” Ebbitt said.

The nonprofit was awarded a $25,000 grant from the City of Citrus Heights’ economic development fund in the spring of 2022 and spent the summer renovating the new performance space. The group also received other financial donations throughout the summer.

Jeannie Bruins, a longtime Citrus Heights City Council member, echoed Ebbitt’s optimistic sentiments, adding that it was a “delight” to have the funds available to help the nonprofit construct a new studio.

“It’s an example of thinking outside the box,” Bruins said, noting that the economic development funds don’t typically go toward performing arts groups, but that the council was able to see the positive impact a new theater would have inside the Sunrise Mall.

The performing arts group continues to offer multiple classes and rehearsals every week at their main studio space, located at 1220 Melody Ln. in Roseville. The new location at the mall is not replacing the Roseville-based studio, but will allow for additional class space and a dedicated performance space.

Previously, the group had been utilizing various churches and schools across the region for performances.

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