Venue Theatre, the scrappy little Pinellas Park professional playhouse that for 22 years helped local playwrights and budding performers develop their talents, is closing its doors.
“A recent downturn of events is the cause,” said Executive Director Corinne Broskette. “We had planned our first summer season – however an illness in the family of a cast member cancelled 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.”
Venue’s Mainlands Blvd. location in the Plaza shopping center was the third of its homes – the first two were near the current Studio@620 and on Gandy Blvd. During its existence, Venue has produced over 20 plays by new playwrights and provided a place for local actors to hone their craft. For example, Gulfport playwright Gil Perlroth premiered many of his musicals there, and his show Ain’t Retirement Grand? played repeatedly to sold-out houses at Venue before moving on to out-of-Florida productions.
Venue Actor’s Studio, the theater’s training wing, has helped dozens of local actors get their start.
“Venue has risen from the ashes in the past,” said Broskette, “and this is no indication that it shall not rise again. I shall continue to teach acting, so look for more info in the near future about that part of Venue Theatre.”
There will be a theater sale through May 26 at Venue Theatre, 9125 U.S. 19 N., in the Plaza at Mainlands Blvd (1 light north of the big Wal-Mart), Pinellas Park.