When supporters of a downtown performing arts center floated the idea more than a decade ago, Richmond Shakespeare was among the first theater groups recruited as a resident producing company. It seemed a natural fit for an arts complex that promised to showcase the region’s cultural talents.
Next month, though, theatergoers who attend the company’s production of The Taming of the Shrew won’t be visiting the Gottwald Playhouse, a 200-seat black-box theater built as part of the $74 million Richmond CenterStage.
Instead, Shrew will be performed at The Steward School, a private coed institution on Gayton Road, about 16 miles from downtown. It’s not as ready-made as the Gottwald, but the performance space suits the troupe’s needs for now, says Jan Powell, artistic director for Richmond Shakespeare.
“Our intention at Richmond Shakespeare was to be a full-time resident company — but that is not financially feasible,” Powell says. Despite its status as a resident company of CenterStage, she added in a later conversation, many considerations go into the planning of which venue suits which production.
This year marks the second season in a row that the Shakespeare troupe will perform at other venues, including the stage at Richmond Triangle Players. Richmond Shakespeare and Henley Street Theatre merged operations earlier this year and are co-producing several shows in the 2013-14 season. The two companies will return to the Gottwald Playhouse in February for a production of Death and the Maiden by Ariel Dorfman.
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