Members of the Acrosstown Repertory Theatre (ART) will begin packing up their costumes, stage sets, and equipment this Saturday.
Everything in the old Baird Hardware Complex — now South Main Station — must be transferred into storage units for the time being.
After nearly 30 years at the Baird Complex, ART must leave permanently due to new restaurant expansions and surrounding activities compromising the theatre’s place on South Mainstreet.
“I felt crushed, honestly,” said Emma Grimm, a six-year member of the theatre, in a phone interview. “It’s not just because I had found a home and family in that space, but knowing that they’ve been there for so long, I don’t know, it feels ominous.”
As the theatre evacuates, the burning question is, what now?
ART met last week to discuss potential future venues, fundraising, and new board members.
The acting president of the board, Carolyne Salt, will step down once a new executive committee takes over so she can focus on her health after being diagnosed with fibromyalgia, which makes it difficult to do things. She plans to serve as an advisor until the theatre is back on its feet.
“It’s a beloved part of the community, and it’s touched on so many lives,” said Salt in a phone interview. “I want to see it keep going, stay successful, and maintain all the wonderfully weird things the theatre does. I am hopeful we will make it through this transition.”
Since the theatre does not have a permanent building for shows, ART members began brainstorming future places to perform.
Practicing at members’ homes, renting a space only for show nights, outside venues, and the most realistic — doing nomadic theater — are all options for the theatre program.
“At the end of the day, I hope that whoever steps up to help take over brings new policies, diversity, and safety,” said Grimms. “I know many people in the theatre community are searching for new programs to create beautiful art. I truly hope we can be that home for them.”