Florida Studio Theatre Grows in Leaps and 'Bowne's'
Florida Studio Theatre announces the completion of its fifth theatre, Bowne's Lab. The new Bowne's Lab represents the final phase in FST's Capital Campaign. FST's newest theatre will house Improv programming, Adult Education Performances, Apprentice Company projects, and all things new and experimental.
FST's newest theatre garners its name from the ancestral family of FST Board of Trustees member Georgia Court's late husband John Court. His ancestor, John Bowne, was an English immigrant who resided in the Dutch colony of New Netherland. Bowne is honored today as a pioneer in the American struggle for religious liberty. FST broke ground on the Hegner Wing in January 2012. The basic framework of the lab was built last year in renovation of the Gompertz Theatre and the construction of the John C. Court Cabaret. Work began on the interior design of Bowne's Lab this past summer after the 2013 Summer Season closed. The design of this theatre showcases the intimate characteristics of our current cabaret theatres with a touch of steampunk décor and will include full bar and kitchen service. This newest addition to FST's village of theatres was designed by Jeffrey Dean with architect, Alan Anderson; Anderson was also the architect for the entire Hegner Theatre Wing project.
Artistic Director Richard Hopkins speaks to the completion of this project stating, "The Bowne's Lab opening will be the final phase of our capital campaign. To say we have five stages sometimes sounds 'insane', like it's too much. But we need to keep in mind that it wasn't ego that drove us to open these additional stages. It was audience demand. The Gompertz Theatre was renovated because the audience had outgrown the Keating Theatre. There were literally no seats left for new people who wanted to attend. Now, those two theatres serve our Mainstage audience and that audience continues to grow in leaps and bounds! The same is true of the Goldstein Cabaret. We were playing to well over 100% capacity in the winter season, and opening the Court Cabaret has allowed us to expand our subscriber base by 2000 in one year, and fill the needs of an audience hungry for good theatre that challenges with as much gusto as it entertains. And finally, we opened the Bowne's Lab, first and foremost as a home to our FST Improv Troupe and to all things new and experimental."
The new Bowne's Lab Theatre will primarily be home to FST's Improv series. FST's favorite resident comedy company will run shows this winter through April. These laugh out loud shows, created entirely from audience suggestions, will explore a different style of improvisation. First is the heart of FST Improv, Out of Bounds, the all-improv game show explosion of madness with no rules and no boundaries. Then comes the new shows: 52 Card Pick Up and TEXT M for Murder. 52 Card Pick Up takes 52 suggestions to create one play. Audiences define the characters and the locations, and then get to put the hurdles in the actor's way and direct the choices they make just by filling out the cards on the table pre-show. Then with TEXT M for Murder, audiences are cordially invited to witness a completely improvised murder where hapless investigators use audience suggestions to catch the crook and figure out just whodunit.
FST is proud to announce the January completion of Bowne's Lab. Hopkins sums it all up saying, "Five stages might be 'insane.' But we are 'insanely artist driven and audience focused.' We love art and we love audiences. And that combination makes for a growing theatre."