After a season of outdoor performances, the Players Centre for Performing Arts is moving to a temporary space for future productions.
The arts organization will moving into a location at The Crossings at Siesta Key, which was formerly known as Westfield Siesta Key. The space — which was formerly a Banana Republic store and will serve as a temporary home until construction on a performing arts center in Lakewood Ranch is completed — is behind the Connors Steak and Seafood.
“We at The Players could not be more excited about the possibilities presented by this space," said CEO William Skaggs. "With the recent demolition of our former theater, it seems almost serendipitous that we are starting to unveil the future. This venue will allow us to bring audiences out of the elements and back to an indoor setting. There are so many amazing things on the horizon and we’re excited to take the community along with us.”
Skaggs said when he and other Players Centre staff were attracted to the space's open design that would be amenable to theater performances, not to mention the mall's ample parking. Parts of the 5,400-square-feet space will be renovated to provide a greater amount of space with much of the backdoor area and a side storage area remaining intact. There will be nearly 150 audience seats when all is said and done.
Performing outdoors has been an effective alternative during the pandemic but Skaggs feels audiences are craving the normalcy that comes with indoor shows.
"Audiences want to go to a show without worrying about the weather forecast," Skaggs said. "We love performing at different venues outside... but we want it to be a component of what we do, not everything we do."
There are difference to adapt to — the space doesn't have as much vertical room compared to other performing spaces — but Skaggs is excited to see the performers find new ways to entertain around it.
"The location, the amenities, the the knowledge base of the community (knowing the Crossings mall) made us think this would serve us really well," Skaggs said.
The Players Centre's 92nd season will be announced in July and will be held in the new location in October. Outdoor performances are expected to continue as part of a separate series going forward with virtual performances happening where rights allow.