West Ch­ester gets per­form­ing arts the­ater

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE -

The per­form­ing arts now has a place to call home in West Ch­ester, which will be named af­ter the Knauer fam­ily.

The per­form­ing arts now has a place to call home in West Ch­ester, and thanks to a do­na­tion from Chris and Beth Knauer, that home will be known as The Knauer The­ater for the Per­form­ing Arts.

The name, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment re­leased by the Up­town! En­ter­tain­ment Al­liance, is meant to honor Chris Knauer’s grand­mother, Lena, and his par­ents, David and Nancy Knauer.

The Ar­mory at 226 N. High St. is the lo­ca­tion of the new the­ater and it will hold it’s New Year’s Eve Grand Open­ing Gala on Dec. 31, which has al­ready been sold out.

“That it is an af­fir­ma­tion of the vi­sion of the peo­ple who launched this en­deavor to meet this need in our com­mu­nity” and “the ful­fill­ment of this dream is truly ex­cit­ing,” wrote Chris Lang, an Up­town! board mem­ber.

In their state­ment, the four founders be­lieved a the­ater was one of three things miss­ing from West Ch­ester; the other two be­ing a train sta­tion and water­front prop­erty.

Chris Knauer’s grand­mother, Laura El­lena Knauer, also called “Aunt Lena,” per­formed over 100 mono­logues songs, skits and po­ems and be­came known in Ch­ester County for play­ing the mu­si­cal saw as well as the pi­ano for silent movies.

Even­tu­ally, her work with the arts led her to a ca­reer in ra­dio and tele­vi­sion, mak­ing ap­pear­ances on the “Mike Dou­glas Show,” and “What’s My Line?”

She also en­ter­tained thou­sands of peo­ple over her 40-year ca­reer in places in­clud­ing St. Peter’s Vil­lage while dressed in Vic­to­rian at­tire and play­ing the saw and shar­ing sto­ries.

David and Nancy Knauer,

Chris’s par­ents, also con­tin­ued to sup­port the per­form­ing arts through­out their lives. Both na­tives of West Ch­ester, they con­tin­u­ously sup­ported the arts. David played the sax­o­phone and clar­inet in the United States Army, and Nancy con­tin­ues to at­tend the Cri­te­rion’s con­certs at West Ch­ester Univer­sity, where she grad­u­ated in the 1940s.

“With the Knauer fam­ily name on the the­ater, the arts will con­tinue to live on as part of the fab­ric of the com­mu­nity,” wrote Richard May, an­other Up­town! board mem­ber. To con­tact the Daily Lo­cal News, email news@dailylocal.com or mes­sage us on Face­book and Twit­ter: www.face­book.com/ dai­ly­lo­cal­news, www. twit­ter.com/wc­dai­ly­lo­cal.


Chris and Beth Knauer do­nated funds to help sup­port the new the­ater. As a re­sult, the the­ater will be named The Knauer The­ater for the Per­form­ing Arts.


Chris’ par­ents, David and Nancy Knauer, were life­long sup­port­ers of the per­form­ing arts.

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