Pullo Center’s impact goes beyond the stage

The Pullo Center doesn’t just bring cultural and economic benefits to York County — it brings the best of York County to the outside world.

Story paid for by: The Pullo Center

Imagine listening to the Vienna Boys Choir the week before Christmas or perhaps hanging with the Blues Brothers while enjoying their foot-stomping performance. More of a film aficionado? How about watching “The Princess Bride” alongside the story’s masked hero, Cary Elwes – all right here in York. Inconceivable? Not at all.

The Pullo Center on the campus of Penn State York has been bringing audiences up close with the arts in different forms and ways since it opened in 2005.

But while the spotlight shines on the acts in front of the curtain, the impact of the theatre can be felt by many backstage and beyond.

‘You feel you’re right on stage’

Step inside The Pullo Center and you might be surprised to hear it holds 1,016 seats – each a comfortable place for the audience to soak in the entertainment. Even in the back row, you feel you’re right there with the artists.

Jill Livengood, the center’s marketing manager, beams when she steps into the space with The Pullo Center’s director Tina Rohrbach.

“We’ve done some things that not everyone does, like lectures from TV stars, or showing different films with a star from the film there to take questions,” Jill says.

And it’s getting up close and personal that The Pullo Center is known for offering its guests, not only through great seating but in special meet-and-greets with some of the stars.

“People gain an appreciation for the arts when they are in such an intimate setting,” Jill says. “And they can find those quality acts right here in York County.”

A learning environment

There’s no need to head to the Big Apple to feel the rush of a Broadway show coming to life.

The Pullo Center is one of the only theatres on the East Coast that serves as a home base for Broadway tours doing technical rehearsals. Cast and crew come to town for a week or so, practicing everything they need to know – building and tearing down sets, rehearsing the show – before they hit the road.

There are a few keys that make the facility a prime spot for these technical rehearsals.

Even with a full season, The Pullo Center doesn’t book as many events as other venues, which leaves time available for the technical rehearsals, Tina says.

The backstage area also has carpentry space, which allows the tours to build or rebuild sets and tweak them as needed. And, there is ample parking for the tractor-trailers and buses that accompany a tour.

The cast and crew aren’t always the only ones learning during technical rehearsals. The children’s show “Barbie Live” provided a surprise learning experience for Penn State students, as engineering majors met people who designed sets and harnesses and learned how Barbie could fly safely on stage.

“It gives students the opportunity to see how everything is produced and how what their learning in the classroom can apply to the world they’re going into after college,” Tina says.

Sometimes, a meet-and-greet – like with the cast of “Rent” – gives students some unexpected lessons, too.

Even after the touring groups pack up and hit the road, they leave a fond farewell at The Pullo Center with their own unique mark – a signature of their presence spray-painted on the wall behind the stage.

“It’s one of our favorite things to show people when touring the theatre,” Tina says.

Economic boost to York County

That impact goes beyond the walls of The Pullo Center.

When technical rehearsals are in town for weeks at a time, cast and crew need a home away from home. Heritage Hills Golf Resort is the center’s preferred host for tours and acts brought to town.

Heritage Hills benefits not only from the lodging business but also provides food, golf, spa treatments and entertainment.

“Anyone who stays with us through The Pullo Center gets to take advantage of the amenities and also gets discounts,” says Danielle Jordan, corporate and association sales manager at Heritage Hospitality. “We want our guests to view us as a second home and not just a hotel.”

That’s just part of the economic boost The Pullo Center brings to York County. Tour members eat at local restaurants, pick up everyday items at pharmacies and convenience stores, and perhaps do other shopping at local retailers.

“We feel as though we’re giving revenue back to the community and bringing more business to York County,” Tina says.

Danielle believes The Pullo Center doesn’t just bring cultural and economic benefits to York County – it brings the best of York County to the outside world.

“It attracts so many people from other areas, and they are able to see that York isn’t the small place everyone assumes it to be,” she says. “There is so much to do here, and the programs The Pullo Center puts on allow us to be able to showcase and highlight what this county has to offer.”

Story paid for by The Pullo Center

1031 Edgecomb Ave., York, PA 17403

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