In its 50th year as a gathering place in the city, the Sandy Springs Plaza shopping center is taking on a new community role–becoming the site for a new 4,000-square-foot, 200-seat theater that will be run by Act 3 Productions.

The new community theater will be located on the north end of the center, directly behind the Henri’s Bakery and Pier 1 stores, according to Sandy Springs Plaza owner Jan Saperstein.

The shopping center developer is paying the cost for building out the theater in what has been a metal building used primary for storage.

Saperstein said the building permits had just been obtained but it is expected the theater will be ready for Act 3 Productions to premiere its first show there during the first week of January.

Act 3 Productions is a 501©(3) organization which has produced 13 sold-out musicals in East Cobb County over the past 10 years.

“Act 3 has been doing great theater work in East Cobb County for years working with the area schools,” Saperstein said. “I have never before seen anything like the community support this opportunity has created.”

In addition to the typical Act 3 productions, Saperstein said he understands the facility will be used for open-mic nights and some sort of improv theater events.

Auditions were held Nov. 24 and 25 for the musical Striking 12, which will be held in the new Sandy Springs theater beginning Thursday, Jan. 7.