Bergen Performing Arts Center (BergenPAC) is a community theater that acts as a creative focal point, educational resource, and economic engine in northern New Jersey.
BergenPAC's objective is to make live performing arts and arts education accessible to its various community by providing a creative home for outstanding and relevant artists and instructors who delight, educate, inspire, and inform their audiences and students.
As Northern New Jersey's foremost cultural and arts educational organization, bergenPAC will guide and free our youth's imaginations while also expanding the lives of our adults.
The Englewood Plaza movie theater opened its doors on November 22, 1926, and stayed in operation until 1967, when United Artists bought the property and kept it running until 1973.
The building sat empty for a few years after the Plaza closed until a small group of residents led by John Harms labored to bring the John Harms Center to life on October 10, 1976, with a performance by a Russian pianist Lazar Berman.
John Harms (1906-1981), an organist and instructor, started his career as an impresario in 1941, producing concerts for both renowned and lesser-known musicians in North Jersey. He was a one-person show, selecting and booking performances, renting the venue, writing press releases, and personally calling or corralling over 1,200 connections.
When The Englewood Plaza was on the market, his ambition of owning and operating a performance venue became a reality. Two significant refurbishment projects in the 1990s transformed the Plaza into a contemporary performance hall and media center while keeping the original acoustics.
Until its closure on April 14, 2003, the John Harms Facility was one of New Jersey's major performing arts facilities and the largest arts center in northern New Jersey. A small group of people reopened the doors of BergenPAC on April 30, 2003, thanks to public-private cooperation.
Tony Bennett, Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, Ringo Starr, John Legend, Jerry Lewis, and Willie Nelson performed on the main stage at BergenPAC when it first opened its doors. Approximately 200 performances are scheduled throughout the year.
BergenPAC's Performing Arts School is currently housed in One Depot Square. The historic Englewood railway station formerly homes Bennett Studios. Students may perform on the main stage of the theater and around the county. Programs are available for school districts and special needs students of all ages, from infants to adults.
For young individuals aged two months to twenty-one years, the program provides year-round programs in various disciplines, including theater, art, voice lessons, and dance.
BergenPAC is currently a leader in providing world-class cultural and educational opportunities to its community, thanks to Frank Huttle's passion and many others who have worked with him. BergenPAC collaborates with its board of directors, employees, volunteers, and partners to create a world-class Home for Arts and Education accessible and affordable to everyone.
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