The Sacred Heart Church, which now houses the PCA Mainstage Theatre & Art Gallery complex started construction in 1891. However, the area at the corner of Willis and Marina has been the scene of Catholic Church activities since about the 1880’s. But in 1889, Father Quetu came to Prescott to take over the Sacred Heart Parish. He set out to build the Sacred Heart Church. Construction began in 1891 and was completed in 1894. The first service was held in 1895.
The building, which now houses the theatre and office structures are listed on the National Registry of Historic Buildings on December 14, 1970. The stained glass interior circles above the audience area are part of the original church architecture as are the metal walls and ceiling. The alter was situated in what is now the center of the stage, and the confessional was located in the area of the current ladies restroom.
During the late 1960’s, the church was also used to present plays by a new group of performers. Then, in 1968, Prescott Fine Arts Association was formally chartered as a non-profit organization. In 1967, the church was purchased by Norma Hazeltine, who then donated it to PFAA as a full time performing arts facility. After extensive remodeling, PFAA held its Grand Opening in August, 1970.
In 2011, PFAA officially changed its name to Prescott Center for the Arts (PCA).
PCA has also presented world premieres of four musical productions, one melodrama and numerous children’s and family theatre plays. It also began holding art exhibits and plays for the youth of the area.
The staff consists of an Executive Director, Finance Director, Technical Director, two part-time administrative employees, and several other part-time ticket sales personnel. Everyone else involved in the year-round operation is a VOLUNTEER!
Here are some key dates in PCA History:
- 1968 PFAA formed (Articles of Incorporation filed in August)
- PFAA was originally housed in the top floor of the Santé Fe Depot building (now an office complex facing Sheldon St and part of the Depot Marketplace)
- 1970 First full art exhibit opens
- 1974 saw our first Children’s production – Winnie The Pooh
- 1983 JoAn Ramsay initiated the Youth Scholarship program
- 1985 the seating capacity increased from 155 to 194 setting up the current seating arrangement
- 1987 PFAA began offering school performances as Children’s Theatre, busing students into the theatre.
- 1991 reserved seating began
- 1992 Operations Manager position created
- 1992 – 1998 several facility improvements implemented
- 2005 PFAA won the Region VIII AACT Fest and represented the region in the national competition.
- 2009 PFAA represented the state of AZ at the Region VIII festival in Roseville, CA.
- September 1, 2011 the name “Prescott Fine Arts Association” was changed to “Prescott Center for the Arts”
- 2014 A “black box” theatre (Stage Too) formed.
- PFAA and its volunteer actors have won several awards over the years including:
- Governor’s Art Award 1992 in the category of Community Arts Organization
- Arizona Theatre Alliance Award of Excellence 1999
- AACT National Award Excellence in Acting - Karen Murphy Crosswords 2003
- AACT Regional Award Best Ensemble - Crosswords 2003
- AACT Regional Award Excellence in Acting - Sean Jeralds; It Had to be You 2005
- AACT National Award Excellence in Acting - Joanne Robertson It Had to be You 2005
- AACT Regional Excellence in Acting Award - Joanne Robertson Self Help 2009