TheatreVirginia, Richmond's only LORT theatre, will enter a period of sporatic production from 2003 until 2007, according to producing artistic director Benny Soto Ambush. The company is caught between renovations on their current home at the Museum of Fine Arts, which begin in March, 2004, and the completion of their new space at the Carpenter Center in 2007.
After the 2002-2003 season in the Museum of Fine Arts, TheatreVirginia will enter what Ambush calls "a period of transition." He promises the company will still stage some scaled down productions, continue some of the theatre's educational programs and fundraise for TheatreVirginia's full-scale return in 2007.
"We're adapting to the [economic] environment and planning to keeping TheatreVirginia visible in the best way we know how until we can find an interim home or move into the Carpenter Center. We're also inviting and asking for the support of the Richmond community," Ambush said.
TheatreVirginia began life 48 years ago as the Virginia Museum Theatre performing inside the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. In the early 1970's, the theatre began a full Equity company and in the 1980's became a completely independent entity from the Museum of Fine Arts. The Museum's major renovation and expansion, beginning in March, 2004, however, will make TheatreVirginia homeless.
The Carpenter Center, a $100 million performing arts complex planned for Richmond's downtown, invited TheatreVirginia to be one of the center's anchor company. Construction is expected to be completed in early 2007. The final full season in the Museum of Fine Arts will include William Mastrosimone's Tamer of Horses (Oct. 9-Nov. 2), the musical revue Beguiled Again: The Music of Rodgers and Hart (Nov. 26-Dec. 21), Lane Nishikawa and Victor Talmadge's The Gates of Heaven (Jan. 15-Feb. 8, 2002), The Laramie Project (March 5-29, 2002) and Ramona King's Steal Away (April 23-May 17, 2003).
For ticket information, call (804) 353-6161. TheatreVirginia in The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is located at 2800 Grove Avenue. TheatreVirginia is on the web at http://www.theatreva.com.
– By Christine Ehren