Richmond CenterStage has been the talk of the town for quite some time. What used to be the Carpenter Center for the Performing arts and the old Thalimer’s Department Store have been renovated and joined to create Central Virginia’s newest performing arts building, holding now four different venues of varying sizes.
Richmond CenterStage has been the talk of the town for quite some time. What used to be the Carpenter Center for the Performing arts and the old Thalimer’s Department Store have been renovated and joined to create Central Virginia’s newest performing arts building, holding now four different venues of varying sizes. The Carpenter Theatre was originally the Loew’s Theatre and showed movies from 1928 until 1979. It remained closed until 1983 when it was renovated and became The Carpenter Center for the Performing Arts. The theatre closed yet again in 2004 and has been in renovation until just recently when the doors opened on September 12, 2009 for the Grand Opening Gala – a performance showcasing 9 local companies that are now going to call Richmond CenterStage their home. (For more info on CenterStage visit: www.richmondcenterstage.com)
One of these companies is the Richmond Ballet (www.richmondballet.com), who I work for. The ballet was one of the core groups that helped organize all aspects of production for this show. Organizing the loading in of huge set pieces brought in by the Virginia Opera, to smaller sets like the wheeling desks for Theatre IV/Barkesdale’s medley of songs from a handful of musicals, to helping design the lights for many of the groups (including SPARC’s snippet from “Les Misérables,” which was great!) to getting our own production off the ground (literally – we had people flying in from the grid thanks to Flying by Foy! [www.flybyfoy.com]) A hectic two weeks of physical planning in the space, and numerous weeks of prep prior to that, came together for two nights of impressive shows, bringing in thousands of people to the beautiful, fully restored, Carpenter Theatre.
The theatre speaks for itself; it’s an amazing space. It’s very baroque in style, and very brightly colored. Statues flank both sides of the proscenium, and ivy “grows” on the walls (even if it is plastic) amongst a spread of seashells. There are also little birds hiding in many crevices, they’re hard to find! As the lights go down, you feel like you’re watching the show under the blanket of the midnight sky, considering the sound panels are shaped like clouds and the ceiling is imbedded with twinkling stars! It’s a sight to see, so come down to Richmond and see a show in our newest theatre!