A scene from Facing East,
the inaugural production in our new theater.
On February 20, 2010, Richmond Triangle Players entered a new phase in its existence when it opened its production of Facing East in its own newly renovated theater at 1300 Altamont Avenue in Richmond’s historic Scott’s Addition neighborhood.
Getting there was an interesting and exciting journey!
For its first 15 years, Richmond Triangle Players made its home at Fieldens Cabaret Theatre, a cozy theater with a postage-stamp stage, on the top floor of a popular late-night club.
The intimacy and atmosphere of the Fieldens space played a unique role in RTP’s history and artistic identity, as did its discomforts. Amenities were few. There was no working elevator, and the steep stairs to the second-floor theater restricted access for many older or disabled patrons, as did the rudimentary restrooms. Heating and cooling were problematic, and options were limited.
Carl's Radiator shop, prior to renovation.
Success and growing audiences told us it was time to find a new home.
Inspired by the vision outlined at RTP’s 15th Anniversary Gala in September 2008, a local real estate entrepreneur offered to acquire a permanent home that the company could afford -- 1300 Altamont Avenue.
Carl's garage, soon to become
a working theater.
RTP’s Board of Directors conducted due diligence on feasibility and the significant renovations needed to create a functional theater. Rental costs were below market rate; RTP assumed normal utility and other monthly costs. Well-known Richmond architects and contractors pledged their support. Board members and supporters volunteered their legal, renovation and business expertise.
RTP had everything needed to launch its capital campaign and, just as it did, in the fall of 2009, the national economy took a turn for the worse. But rather than delay the project, Board and staff attacked the project with renewed vigor.
RTP Board member Glenn Ayers, taking the first swing during demolition.
Commitments made by the architects and contractors resulted in a re-phased project, achievable at half the original $500,000 estimate. Donors were cultivated with passion and, in addition to providing the funding needed, would be secured to provide interior finishes, lobby lighting and carpet in-kind. Volunteers would be used in appropriate phases of the project, such as painting, and light finishing work.
RTP's production of Bite Me, on the road at the Gay Community Center.
So beginning the fall of 2008, Richmond Triangle Players left its home of 15 years and “hit the road.” For the next eighteen months, RTP was virtually a travelling troupe, producing its shows in venues around town as varied as The Hat Factory in Shockoe Slip, the Metropolitan Community Church, the Gay Community Center, HATTheatre in the far west end, and the historic Empire Theatre complex downtown.
In the meantime, funds were raised, and construction began. On January 30, 2010, renovations were finished, final inspections were completed and Richmond Triangle Players opened its inaugural production in its new theater on February 10, 2010.
Our new lobby, restrooms and theatre are ADA-compliant.
The new theatre can accommodate traditional theatre-style seating or other configurations.
RTP has transformed a former car radiator repair shop into a 4,000 square foot performing arts facility accommodating a 99-seat theater, a graceful lobby, a generous bar, and comfortable restrooms. Its ADA-compliant design is accessible to all.
The new facility is available to the Richmond community for art shows, cabaret performances, private parties, and for use by other theatre companies. It is a safe and welcoming gathering place for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. Most importantly, this exciting new venture will enhance understanding, acceptance, and appreciation of the unique and irreplaceable role that Richmond Triangle Players plays in the artistic, cultural and social life the of the Richmond area.
Cabaret-style seating is available with RTP's
custom-designed tables, each one showcasing
a season from our past.
Founding Director Michael Gooding behind
the front desk /box office in the lobby.
But there is still more to do. While many generous donors came forward to help us fund construction and renovations, there is still work to be done, and bills to be paid. You generous contribution to our Next Stage campaign will help us to retire our debt and complete the exterior renovations to make our one-of-a-kind theater even more special.