A New Theater to Come

Players Centre for Performing Arts Chooses Architect and Builder

Community input is invited at a Sept. 30 event.

By Kay Kipling September 19, 2016

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In case you missed it, the board of trustees of The Players Centre for Performing Arts (formerly usually referred to as simply The Players) has chosen the architect and construction company to build its new performance space in the Waterside Village of Lakewood Ranch.

The venerable performing arts company (87 years old) announced in May its plans for a new space in Lakewood Ranch, moving from its longtime location at U.S. 41 across from the Sarasota Municipal Auditorium to the new neighborhood under development in Lakewood Ranch. Now it has settled on its design and build team.

Selected from a field of 11 applicants, SchenkelShultz of Orlando, partnering with Westlake Reed Leskosky, will be architects for the new facility. (They worked together before on the Venice Performing Arts Center.) Willis Smith Construction, well-known locally for work on new buildings at the Ringling College of Art & Design and for the Ringling Museum’s Asian Art Center, will handle the building aspect. And CJ Fishman of Fishman & Associates, a Venice-based company, will be food services consultant for the project.

The new center will include a 480-seat mainstage auditorium with balcony seating, a 125-seat black box theater, a 100-seat cabaret stage with dining, a rooftop bar and the main campus for the Arnold Simonsen Players Studio, the group’s education arm.

A “Meet & Greet” is scheduled for 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Sept. 30 at The Polo Grill in Lakewood Ranch, and the entire community is invited to come meet the architects and builders, and even make suggestions on what they would like to see included in the theater complex. Entertainment as well as food will be provided. Head to theplayers.org for more information.

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