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Tampa’s newest homeowner: Stageworks Theatre

Bill DeYoung



"The Color Purple" broke attendance records this season at Stageworks. Photo provided.

Tampa’s longest-running professional theater company has a new permanent home.

It’s the same home Stageworks Theatre has leased since 2012 – on the first floor of the Grand Central on Kennedy campus – but thanks to a donation from the landlord, the nonprofit now owns it.

Mercury Advisors has gifted Stageworks its current 99-seat theater, valued at $2.45 million. “Owning our theater will help us fulfill our potential, especially after the challenges of the pandemic, which impacted arts organizations around the world,” Stageworks board chair Jennifer Scher said in a prepared statement.

And the gifts don’t stop there. Tampa’s Frank E. Duckwall Foundation, Inc. has provided a $10,000 grant for Stageworks to convert to energy-efficient LED lighting.

The gifts, said producing artistic director Karla Hartley, “signify the confidence these organizations have not only in our outstanding performances but in Stageworks’ vision for the future.”

Stageworks will celebrate its 40th anniversary with a Feb. 4 gala.

Founded by the late Anna Brennen in 1983, Stageworks was a “gypsy” company, performing in whatever venues were available, until the lease was signed for the Grand Central location.

Contemporary theater companies ThinkTank and the Tampa Repertory Theatre – both lacking permanent homes – perform occasionally in the Stageworks space.

Hartley is directing Stageworks’ next production, the dark comedy The Smell of the Kill, opening Feb. 10.

Stageworks Theatre website

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