NEWBURYPORT — The Newburyport Arts Collective, which formed amid the COVID-19 pandemic as a way to ensure the future of theater and arts in the community long into the future, is officially launching as a group in October with a series of Halloween-esque events.

The collective’s members are Acting Out Productions and The Actors Studio of Newburyport, which merged earlier this year, Firehouse Center for the Arts, Tinkerhaus Community Makerspace, Anna Smulowitz Productions, Exit Dance Theater, The Performing Project, Theater in the Open, The Dance Place, Andre Dubus III and Independent Writers of Greater Newburyport, Paula Estey Gallery, and The Screening Room.

“I’ve just always felt we could be more efficient as a group, and COVID really highlighted that,” Marc Clopton, executive director of The Actors Studio of Newburyport, said of the interest in forming the collective.

In December 2013, the city received a Cultural District designation from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the collective hopes to build off of that designation, he said.

Though live shows have made a bit of a return, there is still a lot of uncertainty with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite these challenges and the financial hardship they have experienced over the past year and a half, the organizations within the collective are determined to support one another and keep the vibrancy of local arts alive.

“I’ve always felt that this community needs to be recognized more as a real cultural destination, and that’s the big motivator behind the Newburyport Arts Collective,” Clopton said.

With more than 100 organizations in the Greater Newburyport area, the local arts and cultural community makes quite an economic impact.

As John Moynihan, executive director of Firehouse Center for the Arts, previously explained, the arts is one of the reasons that people visit Newburyport and when someone comes to the city, they often spend money at local restaurants and businesses as well.

The average person spends approximately $32 on local shopping and dining before and after arts events, according to research by the Newburyport Arts Collective.

The collective now has a central website, created by Susan MacPhee of MacPhee Design, where people can find a calendar of all the local arts events, as well as links to buy tickets and make donations to each organization.

The following are some of the events slated for October:

Acting Out Productions and The Actors Studio of Newburyport will present “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” on Oct. 1-2, 7:30 p.m., at Firehouse Center for the Arts. Tickets are $18 for adults and $16 for students, seniors and Firehouse members.

On Oct. 2, The Actors Studio of Newburyport will host “Queen for a Day,” a play and feedback session with writer Cynthia Faith Arsenault, from 10 a.m. to noon via Zoom.

Acting Out Productions and The Actors Studio of Newburyport will present “Spookley the Square Pumpkin: The Musical” on Oct. 2-3, 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 166 High St. Tickets are $15. Bring a chair. TinkerHaus will host a pumpkin-carving event in conjunction with these performances.

Between Oct. 22 and Oct. 31, the Firehouse Center for the Arts will present eight performances of “Evil Dead the Musical.”

On Oct. 23 at 7 p.m., The Actors Studio of Newburyport will host an online “Full Moon Story Slam” with the theme “Goosebumps.”

On Oct. 23-24, 1:30 to 4 p.m., Theater in the Open will host “Maudslay is Haunted,” a spooky walkthrough event with tricks and treats at Maudslay State Park, 74 Curzon Mill Road. Admission is $10. Children ages 3 and under can enter the event for free.

On Oct. 29, the Firehouse Center for the Arts will present “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” at 11 p.m. Tickets are $20 and include a prop bag.

Anna Smulowitz, executive director of the Terezin Project and founder of the Newburyport Children’s Theatre, now know as Theater in the Open, is working with Fontaine Dubus, owner and director of The Dance Place of Newburyport, to put on a spooky performance.

The show will feature actors, directed by Smulowitz, and performers from Joppa Dance Company. Details will be announced soon.

“When the arts connect, they find each other’s commonality and strength, and share that with the community,” Smulowitz said.

For more on the collective, visit www.newburyportartscollective.org.

Staff reporter Heather Alterisio can be reached via email at halterisio@newburyportnews.com or by phone at 978-961-3149. Follow her on Twitter @HeathAlt.

Staff reporter Heather Alterisio can be reached via email at halterisio@newburyportnews.com or by phone at 978-961-3149. Follow her on Twitter @HeathAlt.

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