New 150-seat “listening room” theater planned for Traverse City

What’s happening: Plans for a new performance space are underway in downtown Traverse City, one that offers both the performers and the audience a chance for a more intimate experience. Dubbed The Alluvion, the 150-seat theater will be built within the Commongrounds Cooperative building on Eighth Street, which is currently under construction itself.

What it is: At 150 seats, The Alluvion will offer musicians and other performers the chance to play in an intimate, listening room setting without having to sell the 400 to 600 tickets necessary to fill Traverse City’s bigger theaters like the Opera House and Milliken Auditorium. Also planned for The Alluvion is a recording and production studio, visual art space, and more.

Making space: “This is how a community becomes an arts community. We nurture it,” says Traverse City musician May Erlewine. “We make space for it. We honor it, and by doing that, we make something happen here that is unlike anything else in the region.”

Bigger picture: The Alluvion fits nicely into the larger plans for the Commongrounds Cooperative, the community-owned, four-story mixed-use development under construction downtown. The building features exhibition space, a coffee shop, market, co-working space, two floors of workforce housing, and more.

How they’ll get there: To build The Alluvion, organizers have partnered with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and their Public Spaces Community Places placemaking initiative. The project is currently taking part in a $50,000 crowdfunding campaign on the Michigan-based Patronicity platform. The MEDC will contribute a $50,000 matching grant should they reach their goal by a July 15 deadline.

What they’re saying: “This space is something really special. It fills the missing middle — a better listening environment than a bar, but not so big that it is difficult for a performer to fill. This matching grant will help make this place inclusive for all ages and abilities — supporting artists and audiences where they’re at,” says Amanda Kik, co-director of Crosshatch Center for Art & Ecology.