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Sarasota Tuesday, Apr. 27, 2021 7 months ago

Asolo Repertory Theatre breaks ground on Koski Center Expansion Project

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The new center will serve as a rehearsal and event space for the theatre company.
by: Harry Sayer Staff Writer

The Asolo Repertory Theatre has long used a repurposed industrial space for its production rehearsals.

It’s worked for the most part, but it’s not been ideal, Producing Director Michael Donald Edwards said. 

That will start to change soon. The Asolo Repertory Theatre is moving forward with its Koski Center Expansion Project, a long-planned addition to existing facilities on Tallevast Road. 

Staff and supporters celebrated the start of the initiative with a groundbreaking on Tuesday, April 27. A number of the Asolo Rep’s closest donors and supporters gathered at the Koski Center grounds Tuesday morning to hear words from staff and board members.

The new building will have a series of features including a two-story “Super Rehearsal Hall," production spaces and multiple studios, an expanded costume shop, a physical therapy room, audio and recording spaces, and more. The center is also intended to be used for public and educational events. 

It’s a number of additions that Edwards believes will greatly increase the company’s efficiency and adaptability when rehearsing and planning shows.

“The one thing in the business we can't make more of is time,” Edwards said. “Time is more valuable as we go on. It costs more to do everything as we go on, so we need to be increasing efficiency and we need to have an environment that enables big thinking ... there's no aspect of what we do that is not going to be positively affected by this.”

The Asolo Rep Koski Center was acquired by the company in 2009 with the financial help of Beverly Koski and consists of a rehearsal hall, a studio and remote costume storage with some office space. The first phase of the expansion project is expected to cost $6 million, with a little over $5 million having been raised by the company so far with the help of donors. 

Edwards and Managing Director Linda DiGabriele thanked the assembled crowd for their help in bringing the project to fruition, notably board members Beverly Koski and Warren Coville.

“The future of Asolo Rep’s growth in so many areas lies in this center,” DiGabriele said.

Phase one will focus on construction of the super rehearsal hall — which Edwards considers the most critical feature — as well as an entry trellis, lobby and the joining of the existing buildings on the Koski Center property. 

Edwards said the center's rehearsal hall is expected to be completed in the fall of 2022. 

“It's a combination of emotion and achievement, and vision,” Edwards said. “I'm extremely proud of everyone that has made it happen.”

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Harry Sayer is the Black Tie Reporter for the Observer. He is a graduate of the University of Central Florida and previously worked the Black Tie beat for the Observer newspaper in Winter Park and Maitland. You can catch him at one of Sarasota's fundraisers and shindigs. 

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