The Performing Arts Center

For the majority of the high school’s existence, both the CHS Theatre Guild and the CHS Musical performed and rehearsed at the 600-seat auditorium at McCarthy Middle School. Initial rehearsals were done in a lecture hall at the high school and as the production neared, they would have to wait until 3:00 to rehearse at McCarthy. The sets were built in music rooms, basements, garages, and storage offices.

On February 28, 2006, the construction began on a new, state-of-the-art Performing Arts Center at Chelmsford High School, and on April 29, 2007, the ribbon was cut. The new auditorium could seat 1,000, and contained modern sound and lighting systems, much improved over the old technology at McCarthy. This addition to Chelmsford High School allowed the theatre program to rehearse, build and store sets, and ultimately show their productions at the high school.

Plans for the auditorium had been talked about since the 1970s, but public funding was never secured. The matter was again brought up in the 1990s, as an increasing need of the high school. When the project was finally approved, it was planned to cost $18 million, but other projects and less public funding eventually reduced the plan to only cost $6 million, cutting back on many proposed features, such as a two-story lobby, larger backstage space, and seating.

Currently, the need for a permanent storage facility is a lasting concern of the Theatre Guild. They currently use a metal trailer to house many of the sets, located across the parking lot from the back of the P.A.C. The guild has proposed a fundraiser that will raise the $35,000 needed to build the facility.