PINELLAS PARK Venue Theatre, a staple of local professional training and performances since 1992, is closing its doors at the current location, 9125 U.S. 19 N. in Pinellas Park, on May 26.
A recent downturn of events is the cause, Corinne Broskette, executive director of Venue Theatre, said in a press release. We had planned our first summer season, however an illness in the family of a cast member canceled our first show planned for May. That coupled with a raise in rent and several other issues have made it impossible to continue at Mainlands.
Formed in 1992 as a nonprofit corporation dedicated to professional training and performance opportunities for non-Equity professional performers, the closing ends the third incarnation of Venue Theatre. Originally at 624 First Ave. S. in St Petersburg, Venue Theatre moved to Gandy Boulevard in 1999 as a training studio only before relocating again in 2005 to the plaza at Mainlands Boulevard in Pinellas Park.
During its 22-year existence, Venue Theatre has produced more than 20 plays by new playwrights, including Gil Perlroth, Joseph Johnson, Donna Tripp, Suzanne Willett, Craig Alpaugh, Jack Spirtos and Fleming Erik Carlson. Venue Theatre also has produced numerous locally written one-act plays. Venue Actors Studio, the training wing, has developed such well-known actors as Mark Consuelos, Brittany Snow, the R Girls, PYT (an all-girl close harmony group from Tampa with Lydia Bell, Lauren Mayhew, Tracy Williams and Ashley Niven), Jessica
Howell, Meredith Myers (The Stand-Up Librarian), The Blues Brothers Two, comedian Tony Gaud and many character actors, dancers, singers, filmmakers, playwrights and directors.
Venue has risen from the ashes in the past, and this is no indication that it shall not rise again, Broskette said. I shall continue to teach acting, so look for more info in the near future about that part of Venue Theatre.
Broskette was trained in acting, directing and teaching by the late Lee Strasberg.
There will be a theater sale through May 26 at Venue Theatre, 9125 U.S. 19 N.