Since we started the Bijou Café in 1986, we have been great friends with our neighbors Florida Studio Theatre. We obviously have a symbiotic relationship as many people love to have dinner at the Bijou and then walk across the street to attend a theater performance.
On a more personal note, we really got to know the folks who run the theater when our little boy Jeffrey (now 26!) started going to summer camp for kids at FST. He loved it and of course we loved seeing him and the other kids perform.
Now in its 38th year, Florida Studio Theatre is just about to complete the largest expansion in its history to meet growing needs.
They have renovated the 6,000 square foot Gompertz Theatre and constructed an 18,000 square foot addition with two new theater spaces. It has been a $6 million project and it will allow for growth of the theater, the art, and the audience. Pictured at right is the nearly-complete new theatre!
New features include:
- Fully renovated Gompertz theatre auditorium featuring an increase in seating capacity to 230, increased accessible seating for handicapped patrons, larger stage space and wing space
- Expanded interior lobby space
- New large restrooms
- A full service café and bar
- Covered veranda seating and street-level seating
- A New Cabaret Theatre, seating 130 people on two levels
- A New Lab Theatre, seating 100 people
- A New Actors' Loft featuring new dressing rooms, restrooms, green room, and additional facilities
Little old neglected First Street has really been kicked up a notch with this beautiful new addition!
Ticket revenue only covers about 65% of the operating costs associated with their programming. Like all non-profit institutions, they rely on the generous contributions of loyal patrons and corporations to bridge the gap. Donors are a critical part of FST's artistic team, ensuring that they can continue to make Sarasota a great place to raise children, and an even better place to raise adults.
So our very best wishes go out to Richard, Rebecca, Kate, Beth, Pam and the entire FST family on their amazing new achievement.