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FST's Bowne's Lab Reopens for Dining and Improv

All of FST's stages have been closed due to the coronavirus, but laughs are on the way again.

By Kay Kipling May 29, 2020

FST Improv members, pre-social distancing. A rotating cast of three members will perform again starting June 5.

We reported earlier, in a piece about Florida Studio Theatre’s current and ongoing projects, that the theater hoped to reopen one of its smaller cabaret spaces, closed because of COVID-19, sooner, rather than later. Now that’s happening as FST plans to reopen its Bowne’s Lab for dining and live entertainment Friday and Saturday nights, starting June 5.

The space will operate at 50 percent capacity, with seating located at least six feet apart, and a full food and drink menu available. Onstage will be a rotating cast of three FST Improv troupe members, presenting one-act comedy sets of games, scenes and songs, all made up on the spot. On June 18 FST Improv will begin performing Thursday and Saturday nights, scheduled at this point through Aug. 29. The initial Friday and Saturday night schedule is set for June 5-13.

FST managing director and founder of FST Improv Rebecca Hopkins said in the release announcing the reopening, “They say laughter is the best medicine, and I believe that to be true, but we also recognize the importance of protecting everyone who enters that space—the performers, the audience members, and the restaurant staff.” Hopkins will host the initial performances, which will include classic short-form improv games like “Radio Call-In” and “Everyday Olympics.”

Will Luera, FST’s director of improv, adds that “While the pandemic might come up in scenes, it is not going to be the focus of these performances. Even during the craziest times, comedy has the ability to distract, heal and unite people—we’re looking forward to doing that for audiences.”

Matt Walker, Sarah Durham, Kyle Van Frank, Will Luera and Rebecca Hopkins are among the FST Improv troupe members who will be performing.

Image: Sarah Haley

Each member of FST’s restaurant staff will wear gloves and a mask, changing gloves after every food and beverage delivery, and tables and chairs will be sanitized between reservations. Only disposable menus will be used. (For a full list of the precautions and practices FST will follow, visit )

Are you ready to return to live entertainment these days? Call 366-9000 to reserve a table, or visit

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