CONTACT: Sebastian D’Elia, 908-527-4419


Union County Performing Arts Center Reopens for All to Enjoy
Nancy Ward, Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders Chair, Union County Open Space,
Recreation and Historic Preservation Trust Fund

The Freeholder Board and I recently had the pleasure of previewing the completion of our two-year effort to restore, renovate and revitalize the Union County Performing Arts Center in Rahway. It has been a most rewarding chapter in the history of this magnificent former vaudeville and movie show palace.

Many Union County residents came together to preserve the 1928 building when it fell on hard times back in the 1970’s. The work continued throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s, to restore the ornate interior and vintage façade.

In 2006, the Freeholder Board pursued the opportunity to contribute to this endeavor by enabling the County to purchase the building, and do the work needed to bring it up to modern technical requirements.

Besides the physical improvements, the name has changed from the Union County Arts Center to the Union County Performing Arts Center. That is a powerful difference and a key to all we’ve completed here.

The Performing Arts Center is now a place where the arts are in performance or practice year-round. Improvements such as a modern, high efficiency heating, ventilating and air conditioning system have created the environment for this.

A new addition brings it all to life with Broadway-style dressing rooms, a rehearsal room, an elevator and new loading dock. The stage has been extended to accommodate the demands of modern performances.

With the increased space, the facility can for the first time house a professional theater company – the Alliance Repertory Theater Company – which will open its ninth season here.

Together with the Performing Arts Center Board of Trustees, the Freeholder Board has worked to create a theater that will be the centerpiece of Rahway. It will complement Rahway’s remarkable downtown development, which will also include a future river walkway supported by the County through Open Space Trust Fund monies.

The impact of the Performing Arts Center will resonate beyond the immediate community. It will serve as a hub for entertainment and artistic development for all residents of Union County and throughout the region.

The Performing Arts Center also has a strong potential for attracting cultural heritage tourists from other parts of New Jersey, and from out-of-state. The renovations have all been conducted in keeping with the theater’s status on the State and National Registers of Historic Places.

The Performing Arts Center will bring enrichment and affordable family fun to thousands of Union County residents, while supporting job creation in the community. It is a stellar example of the civic benefit that accrues from public investment in the arts, and a wonderful model for future growth throughout the county.

Information about the many exciting performers and events scheduled at the Union County Performing Arts Center is available at