The Players Launches The Stage at Payne Park

Arts & Culture

The Players, Sarasota’s community theatre dedicated to delivering quality productions, educational programs and keeping the community engaged with the performing arts, has formed The Stage at Payne Park LLC (The Stage), a wholly-owned subsidiary nonprofit organization of The Players, Inc. The new organization intends to remodel the existing Payne Park auditorium for its new home at a project cost of $8 million. The Players will match dollar for dollar all community donations up to $4 million, reducing the future capital campaign fundraising amount to $4 million. Brian McCarthy, board member for The Players and CEO of The Pickleball Club LLC, is the chief executive officer of The Stage; David Sanders, board member for The Players and financial advisor, is the chief financial officer of The Stage; Steven Butler, artistic director for The Players, is chair of the community consortium committee for The Stage; and Nancy Jenkins is the project manager for new construction. The Stage is also pleased to announce the following advisory board members: Bill Porter, chair of The Players Board of Trustees and William Skaggs, The Players CEO. The organization is currently finalizing the project team with the selection of an architect, engineer, general contractor and business development leader for key positions in the project. “We’ve assembled a great group to advise on design, acoustics, programming, sound and lighting to make sure we develop a facility appropriate for our performing arts community,” said Brian McCarthy. “We envision The Stage at Payne Park being a performing arts incubator and a place to host performances by The Players and other performing arts organizations wishing to share the venue and services to increase operating efficiencies and lower their overhead costs.” Some of the first goals for The Stage are to gather a consortium of performing arts organizations to hold focus groups for feedback on design and requirements for their unique organizations. “We want The Stage to be configured to accommodate as many of our Sarasota performing arts organizations as possible,” said McCarthy. The city of Sarasota has approved the terms for The Stage through The Players lease agreement for the future home of the arts organization. The Stage at Payne Park will be located at 2100 E. Laurel Street in Sarasota. The Stage will kick off its capital campaign in September 2023, with a goal of funding the $4 million design and construction project cost, matched by an additional $4 million that The Players has committed to. The project is expected to be complete for the 2025-2026 season in September 2025.

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