The Spirit of Giving is Alive in Sarasota

By Camryn MacIver

With the help of our generous donors and community partners, Florida Studio Theatre has begun a series of renovations to the back of house and backstage areas of the beautiful Goldstein Cabaret. This project was largely supported by Co-Producer Elaine Keating, who matched several individual donations dollar-for-dollar as well as thanks to a large grant from the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation to modernize the elevator.

One of the oldest foundations in Sarasota County, The Selby Foundation has supported FST since its inception, sponsoring such major projects as the renovation of the Gompertz Theatre and the implementation of FST’s Hearing Loop System in our Mainstage theatres. Thanks in part to their continued support, current Goldstein Cabaret renovations will address significant, needed improvements to the original structure, the multi-use elevator, and back of house areas.

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FST’s Gompertz Theatre. Photo by Sarah Haley.

“The Goldstein is much more than a Cabaret theatre,” said Producing Artistic Director Richard Hopkins. “The building also houses three rehearsal halls on the third floor, which is where we rehearse all of our shows for all five theatres. It is also home to our classes for adults and children. In addition, the scene shop, located on the first floor behind the Cabaret, builds every set for all five theatres. It’s a busy building to say the least.”

The three-story Goldstein Cabaret has served thousands of attendees and students with hundreds of memorable performances since its opening in 1996. Audience favorite productions such as Blue Suede Shoes and Guitar Girls were performed here.

Every actor and student that performs on FST’s stages will use these spaces throughout the season to engage in the art of theatre. The completion of renovations to the elevator this fall will ensure that the Goldstein Cabaret remains accessible to the many students, actors, staff, and patrons who use the facility on a daily basis.

In the spring, FST will continue this project with a series of renovations on the second floor, rehearsal studios, and backstage areas.

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William Thomas Evans, Jason Cannon, and Anique Clements rehearse for The Nether in a rehearsal studio. Photo by Sarah Haley.

“The building was designed and built almost 25 years ago, specifically as a support facility to the Keating Theatre,” explained Hopkins. “That’s why the floor elevations of the two buildings are a perfect match…so we could roll scenery from the shop into the theatre with ease. And now, with the renovations, our ‘back of house’ operations will continue to roll smoothly along.”

The renovations of our theatres are made possible because of the generosity of our community and foundation partners. Through these gifts we can continue to serve thousands of people within the community with the Cabaret performances they have come to know and love. FST would like to thank everyone who contributed to the renovations of the Goldstein Cabaret. Your gifts go a long way to keep our theatre affordable and accessible to over 230,000 attendees who join us each year.

“A great big thank you to the original donor, Alfred Goldstein, whose generous donations enabled us to create a structure that has supported our artistic ambitions for the past quarter-century,” said Hopkins. “And now, with the new renovations, we send a big thank you to all the donors who help make that building fully functional for the next quarter-century. The spirit of giving is alive and well in Sarasota.”