We are fortunate in that we have a lot of pearls.

We’ve heard Manila described as “The Pearl of the Orient,” and other locales earn similar monikers for the beauty they add to a region or community. Well, here, we have several.

The beaches could be considered “The Pearls of Delmarva,” right? Our lush agricultural areas “The Pearls of Delaware.” And, honestly, the Freeman Stage has certainly become “The Pearl of Our Local Arts Scene.”

And that pearl is expanding more and more.

Officials announced on Tuesday, Jan. 5, that the Freeman Stage will now be called the Freeman Arts Pavilion. Adjusting to the COVID reality around us, the new facility will allow up to 500 socially-distanced seating pods, as compared to the 97 created at the venue this past season, and attendance, when the phased expansion is complete, will allow more than 4,000 patrons, with 1,100 finding shelter under a roof. The former-Freeman Stage held a pre-COVID capacity of 2,700, according to officials.

Organizers are launching a capital campaign to complete the necessary fundraising to complete the project, and they expect the project to take four to six years to complete.

Freeman Arts Pavilion Phase 1 illustration

The plan for the new Freeman Arts Pavilion expands on the existing Freeman Stage site and will allow for up to 500 four-person seating pods, with an eventual capacity of 4,000 patrons, including 1,100 seats under roof. Acts are already being booked for the 2021 season.

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