They have acquired the former site of Shuler’s Auction house and storage yard, as well as two other adjacent parcels to establish an outdoor venue of 200 seats.
Live entertainment not only remains alive in North Brevard after the effects of COVID, the performing arts will soon be nourished here with a major venue expansion planned by Titusville Playhouse.
The award-winning operator of the historic Emma Parrish Theatre announced today that it has acquired the former site of Shuler’s Auction house and storage yard, as well as two other adjacent parcels, revealing immediate plans to establish an outdoor venue of 200 seats.
The expansion will enable substantial growth in the number and type of performances produced by TPI. The organization’s 57th Season show schedules and details for both the existing theatre and new outdoor venue went live on the TPI website in conjunction with its virtual announcement, broadcast to both its membership and the public.
“We will be the engine for a designated entertainment district in Titusville’s redeveloping downtown,” said Executive Artistic Director Steven Heron. “We are excited to work with the City to plan for this as we begin the immediate and long-term development of our new properties, which will increase our footprint from the quarter-acre site of the Emma Parrish Theatre to a total of more than 2.5 acres.”
While the TPI existing and new properties are not contiguous, they are in very close proximity and will dominate the cultural landscape of the downtown. In addition to the historic theatre, two other historic buildings located on the Shuler property will be retained and made a part of the entertainment district hub.
TPI’s Board has for several years desired to enable an expansion. Prior to COVID, the Playhouse productions were frequently sold out as its reputation for artistic excellence grew throughout Central Florida and the state. This year, Broadway World again recognized TPI’s production excellence by awarding it four “Best of the Decade” musical theatre awards to Steven Heron, Niko Stamos, and Spencer Crosswell. Other TPI staff professionals were honored with individual and group awards the prior year.
“Our Board prioritized retention of our management and professional staff over these past 15 months, and we were able to survive the impacts of reduced box office revenues without furloughing anyone,”
Heron said. Titusville Playhouse adapted quickly to the limitations imposed by the pandemic. TPI adopted strict and effective COVID protocols to ensure the safety of patrons, performers, and staff. Heron emphasized he will continue to follow CDC guidelines as they evolve.
While losing a significant percentage of its box office revenue, TPI was able to mitigate the losses by recasting its season, offering a “streaming” option to ticket holders uncomfortable with attending in person, and securing assistance grants. Heron and his staff found themselves thinking outside the box – literally.
“We took some of our shows outdoors to offer patrons an open-air venue. This included a show produced under the Shuler canopy which introduced us to the possibilities of that site,” Heron said. “When the oppportunity presented itself to acquire the Shuler property, and two other parcels adjacent to it, our Board saw it as a way to grow our cultural value and impact to the entire Central Florida area we serve.” In addition to theatrical productions, Heron intends to program comedy and cabaret-themed shows, as well as a variety of musical performances ranging from symphonic to country. The venue will also support new educational programming, and community events that celebrate the diversity of Central Florida and Titusville, bringing our community together as one.
Beyond the immediate expansion of its offerings, TPI will look to the new properties for planning an eventual new state-of-technology theatre, targeting 450 seats initially, while retaining its 274-seat Emma Parrish Theatre. TPI has reached out to a nationwide network of professional theatre consultants to take a first step in concept development for its multi-venue performing arts hub bordering downtown’s Julia Street and Palm Avenues.
“We are very enthusastic about working in partnership with the City to develop a thriving entertainment district in what has been a fairly sleepy and under-developed portion of the Titusville Community Redevelopment Area,” Heron added. “Our plans clearly align with their objectives for a vibrant downtown, and working together, we can provide the momentum to establish a designated entertainment district that will draw visitors from throughout the entire Central Florida region and beyond.