On February 28, 2022, Florida Studio Theatre announced the plans for an ambitious new endeavor: The Mulva Arts Plaza. The largest expansion project in the theatre’s 49-year history, FST will construct an eleven-story building on its campus in downtown Sarasota adjacent to the theatre’s existing Hegner Theatre Wing. This will enable FST to meet its expanding needs and strengthen the theatre’s role as a vital cultural and artistic resource for the Gulf Coast region.
The Mulva Arts Plaza will include a new Mainstage Theatre, two new Cabaret spaces, fifty-five housing units for FST guest artists, thirty 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom affordable housing apartments for local arts workers in Sarasota, and about 200 convenient parking spaces for FST’s loyal patrons.
“At FST, we never do anything capriciously. We make sure that we need to do something before we actually begin to do it,” said Richard Hopkins, FST’s Producing Artistic Director. “So, we find out what the community needs, what our audience needs, and what the next generation needs. And our response to these needs is the Mulva Arts Plaza.”
The new building is named after Patrick and Mary Mulva, who made the lead gift to the project.
“Over the years, FST has grown to become one of the largest and most successful regional theatres in the country,” said Patrick and Mary Mulva. “It is a unique jewel in the Sarasota arts scene, providing diverse, high-quality, professional theatre at an affordable price.”
FST has received leadership gifts from Ed & Susan Maier, Dennis & Graci McGillicuddy, Jack & Priscilla Schlegel, as well as an anonymous donor. In recognition of their contributions, The Mulva Arts Plaza will feature the Maier Cabaret, the McGillicuddy Residences, and the Schlegel Cabaret.
With the construction of The Mulva Arts Plaza, FST will be able to reach more people than ever before through the art of live theatre.
“We love to continue supporting FST as it expands its presence in the community, because it continuously presents great theatre, engages people, creates community, and promotes education and cultural awareness,” said Jack and Priscilla Schlegel. “FST is a vital asset of Sarasota and the surrounding communities.”
Major gifts were made by Les & Carol Brualdi, Joan & Larry Castellani, Wendy & Bob Grady, Robert & Bonny Israeloff, Bill & Patricia Kordis, Jonathan & Michelle Mitchell, the Arnold Simonsen Family Charitable Foundation, Carol B. Williams, and the Charles O. Wood, III & Miriam M. Wood Foundation.
“I’m excited to support the Artists Plaza and its elements of artists’ housing, parking, and new theatre spaces,” said Carol B. Williams. “FST is such a jewel in the community, producing excellent, often inspiring, theatre and making it available to all.”
Grand gifts were made by Gaele Barthold, Sydney Goldstein, and Ruth Gorton.
Supporting gifts have been made by Neil & Teri Comber, Carol Gilbert & Matty Matheson, and Bernard & Gail Katz.
Eager to embark on this new chapter, FST aims to break ground on this project December of 2022. This enterprise will allow FST to broaden its audience, produce more theatre, enhance the quality of life for visiting and resident artists, improve accessibility, and better provide what the community needs.
If you would like to be part of FST’s next exciting chapter, please contact Kristin Hartnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Header Picture (Left to Right): Jack & Priscilla Schlegel, Rebecca Hopkins, Carol B. Williams, Richard Hopkins, Patricia Kordis, Ed & Susan Maier, Patrick & Mary Mulva, Alan Anderson (Architect), and Jonathan & Michelle Mitchell. Photo Courtesy of FST.