SARASOTA, Fla — The Stage at Payne Park LLC (The Stage), a wholly-owned subsidiary nonprofit organization of The Players, Inc. with a mission to remodel and operate the existing Payne Park auditorium for its new home, held its first consortium meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 13 at the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County.
The three-hour meeting, moderated by Ray Collins, allowed the group of 30 to voice opinions, as well as discuss ideas and requirements unique to each organization for the design and development of The Stage at Payne Park regarding facility design, scheduling, marketing, ticketing, box office, call center, offices and studios, among other items. During the gathering, The Stage at Payne Park also shared some of its preliminary development and marketing plans.
While the organizations had widely varying requirements, many spoke of the need for a bigger performance space or a more permanent home for their organization, an outdoor venue option, an emphasis on acoustics with requirements ranging from solo performance artists to a 35-piece orchestra with a cast of 12, a reception area, and rehearsal space and studios, among other items.
“We were very pleased with the feedback offered up by the consortium during this first meeting,” said Brian McCarthy, chief executive officer for The Stage at Payne Park. “After discussing their wants and needs, it is imperative that The Stage be configured to accommodate as many of our Sarasota performing arts organizations as possible, with an emphasis on flexible space to accommodate seating for a minimum of 50 and a maximum of 300 and scheduling.”
Representing The Stage was Brian McCarthy; Steven Butler, chair of the consortium and artistic director for The Players; Nancy Jenkins, project manager; Brian Hersch, chief executive officer of the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County; William Skaggs, chief executive officer of The Players; members of the board of trustees; Olivier Corizzi, chief executive officer of Creative Strategy Lab; Kate De Michieli, director of public relations with One Eight Oh PR; Marcel Maslowski, president of FG+M Architecture; Colin Derek, architect with FG+M Architecture; and Alec Stoll, ASTC and acoustician with Stages Consultants.
10 members of the 19-member consortium also contributed to the audience, including Key Chorale, SaraSolo Productions, The Hermitage Artist Retreat, The Players, Sarasota Contemporary Dance, Sarasota Jewish Theatre, Squeaky Wheel Theatre Group, Ring Sarasota, Artist Series Concerts and ensembleNEWSRQ.
“From the focus group, we know that special attention needs to be placed on rehearsal space and studios for educational programs,” said McCarthy. “Acoustics are important to everyone, but the requirement ranges from solo performance artists to a 35-piece orchestra with a cast of 12. Lighting and sound set up and take down needs to be quick and labor efficient, a reception space is important to all and a sound recording studio to handle streaming podcasts and videocasts is growing in importance. It would be wonderful to have the space be easily configured to handle luncheons as well.”
The concept of shared services was new to everyone, but all agreed it would be a significant cost savings with merits in shared ticketing to media marketing, from workspace to conference rooms and possibly a shared box office.
The nonprofit expects to hold additional meetings over the course of the next several months to gather community feedback.
Construction on The Stage at Payne Park is expected to start in March 2024, with an estimated completion slated for summer 2025.
About The Stage at Payne Park
Founded in 2023, The Stage at Payne Park LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Players Inc. a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, whose mission is to promote and embrace community theatre and performing arts within Sarasota. In partnership with The Players, The Stage offers an inclusive environment that inspires cultural creativity, acts as an incubator for the performing arts community to thrive and gives aspiring performers a platform to produce and showcase original productions. The 299-seat auditorium located at 2100 Laurel St. in Sarasota will feature flexible space for a diverse lineup of performances, workshops, and community events.
To learn more, visit TheStagePaynePark.org.
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