The Newport Opera House Theater & Performing Arts Center (Opera House) will host a groundbreaking ceremony on Monday, February 29th at 9:45 a.m. inside the auditorium of the Opera House.

Brenda Nienhouse, newly appointed Executive Director of the Opera House, and Alison Vareika, Chair of the Board of the Opera House, are expected to welcome guests, the public and dignitaries at 10:00 a.m.

Among those dignitaries that are expected to be in attendance are Senator Jack Reed, Governor Gina Raimondo, Senate President Paiva-Weed and Newport Mayor Jeanne-Marie Napolitano.

The event comes just days after the Opera House received their first check from the $13.6 million capital campaign that funds the complete rehabilitation of the Opera House Theater.

About the Newport Opera House

The Newport Opera House Theater & Performing Arts Center is actively engaged in restoring and renovating the historic 1867 Opera House Theater in downtown Newport into a 700 seat venue for year-round programming of live performances and other cultural, educational and civic activity. The theater is among the ten oldest surviving Opera Houses in America and the oldest surviving theater building in Rhode Island.

The marquee on the outside of the Opera House Theater & Performance Center currently displays  “23 Months Until Opening Night”. The completion of the restoration and renovation of the Opera House  is set for December of 2017, the theater’s 150th Anniversary.

Following the November 4, 2014 Rhode Island voter approval of the Cultural Facilities Bond, a $4.2 million commitment from the State of Rhode Island has been specifically approved to restore the historic Opera House Theater.

With $5 million in public and private funds secured, the Opera House is making progress on the $13.6 million capital campaign that funds the complete rehabilitation of the Opera House Theater.

During the restoration and renovation, they welcome contributions and pledges up to four years which are matched dollar for dollar by their state grant. Numerous and distinct Naming Opportunities are available and begin with our Cornerstones at $10,000.

Upon completion, the goal is that the Opera House will become a “powerful cultural, community, educational and economic asset for the residents of Newport County, as well as the thousands of people who visit Newport annually”.

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Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here -

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In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
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