The Players Centre for Performing Arts Plans to Move October 2020

Arts & Culture

SRQ DAILY SATURDAY PERSPECTIVES EDITION SATURDAY JUL 11, 2020

The Players Centre for Performing Arts holds a unique place in the hearts and minds of the Sarasota community. After 90 years of laughter, tears, and everything in between (including a global pandemic), The Players accelerated plans to move from their home in downtown Sarasota (838 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34326). The nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization will vacate the space in October 2020. The Players family sees this step as the first of many exciting developments. A temporary location and plans for a 91st season will be announced soon (decisions depend on the health of the city and state). Staff offices will relocate to The Players Studio (1400 Blvd of the Arts, Suite 200, Sarasota, FL 34236). Never fear, the theatre continues moving forward on the brand-new facility in Waterside Place of Lakewood Ranch.

“The Board of Trustees and staff had to address many challenges and make a decision,” says Interim CEO and Managing Artistic Director Jeffery Kin. “Should we move now when the COVID-19 pandemic is keeping us closed? Do we wait it out in our location until May and then move? For financial reasons, and to keep our staff intact as we have not laid off or furloughed any of our employees at this point, we know we need to move now. Our leaving this space and downsizing to a smaller venue for the next few years is the only logical choice.”

The Players is in a unique position. The current building sold in November 2018 and the nonprofit organization has been leasing the space since. This lease agreement with the new owners ends in October 2020. While the contract was renegotiated allowing the organization to stay through May 2021 to finish the 91st season, unfortunately the uncertainty of COVD-19 has shuttered theaters across the country for an unknown amount of time. The Players staff and board care deeply for the health and safety of patrons and volunteers and feel this early departure makes perfect sense. A community theatre is more than a building; it’s much more than bricks and mortar. It’s the feeling and energy that transcends a physical space. The mission of The Players Centre, to entertain, educate and engage the community through high quality live theatre will continue wherever The Players performs and teaches.

“There has been an interesting analogy going around the various arts groups. It’s about all of us ‘being in the same boat.’ I like to say, ‘We’re all in the same storm, but we are in completely different boats,’” says Kin. “This storm is forcing your community theatre to rethink its future.”

Many community members invested time, treasure, and talent into The Players. The Players family appreciates all the continued love and support and wants to give those that love this 90-year-old organization proper time to say goodbye to the old building.

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