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Asolo Repertory Theatre Breaks Ground on Phase One of Koski Center Expansion Project

Posted: May 7 / 2021

Click here to view photos from the Groundbreaking event.

Click here to view Koski Expansion plans/images.

(SARASOTA, FL) –  On April 27, Asolo Repertory Theatre hosted a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate an extensive expansion of the Robert and Beverly Koski Center. The new building, which will be built alongside the existing Asolo Rep facilities located on Tallevast Road, will include a state-of-the-art, two-story “Super Rehearsal Hall” as well as production spaces and multiple flexible studios. The expansion is a cornerstone of Asolo Rep's current strategic plan, "Staging Our Future," which kicked off in 2017. 

Features of the new facilities include flexible rehearsal spaces for theatre and dance — including the two-story “Super Rehearsal Hall” that can accommodate full-size set pieces, an expanded costume shop with state-of-the-art storage, a video/audio recording studio, conference rooms, office space for stage management and guest artists, a physical therapy room, and multi-use studios of varying sizes. 

"The expansion of the Koski Center now underway will give the directors, designers, and choreographers who love working at Asolo Rep even more room to dream and to see those visions come alive," said Producing Artistic Director Michael Donald Edwards. "In a rehearsal hall that replicates the actual stage conditions, we are able to test their biggest, boldest concepts in time to perfect them for our audience. With our top-notch production shops right next door, we can say 'yes' to more complex ideas and more inventive projects as they are being created."

Phase one of the project comprises landmark new construction, including the entry trellis, lobby, super rehearsal hall, conference room and catering kitchen, as well as the joining of two existing buildings on the Koski Center property. 

The project represents a significant expansion in Asolo Rep’s ability to support world-class artistic endeavors. In addition to serving Asolo Rep productions, the new building will also allow Asolo Rep to partner with other local and national artistic organizations. Services offered will include multiple rehearsal spaces for rent, costume rentals and on-site fittings, scene shop, project management, special events, educational programs and summer camps, and professional development training.

“This is the type of facility that producers are constantly searching for and will be eager to take advantage of,” said Asolo Rep Managing Director Linda DiGabriele. “It’s important to our artistic mission, and it’s also a vital tool for diversifying Asolo Rep’s revenue stream and fiscal future.”

More and more hit Broadway productions are originating in regional theatres. By investing in new, state-of-the-art infrastructure, the Staging Our Future strategic plan puts Sarasota on the map as an incubator for thrilling new work. 

Originally acquired in 2009 with the help of a million-dollar gift from Beverly Koski, the Asolo Rep Koski Center is currently home to the Ted Weiller Rehearsal Hall, the Joan Armour Mendell Scenic Studio, remote costume storage and production offices. 

The total campaign is expected to be a $21 million project, of which Asolo Rep has raised $11 million. The total cost for phase one is $6 million, of which the theatre has raised $5.1 million. Fundraising for the expansion project was made possible by the support of several Asolo Rep champions. Million-dollar matching challenges from Margot and Warren Coville and the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation in 2019 helped launch the capital and endowment segments of the campaign. In January 2021, Beverly Koski and Warren Coville jointly issued a $1.5 million challenge that inspired the last sprint to the fundraising goal. 

“Staging Our Future reinforces our commitment to Asolo Rep’s long-term artistic, educational and community-engagement vision,” said Staging Our Future Co-Chair Ann Charters. “The new facilities will also be an exciting part of the revitalization of Sarasota north of the airport. The fact that we're able to move forward with this ambitious project, especially after such a difficult year, is a testament to the community’s belief in our vision."

"This expansion will provide Asolo Rep with a more complete venue to continue producing top quality productions season after season," said Asolo Rep Champion Warren Coville. "This new facility will also provide the theatre with the opportunity to be a part of the creation of new and exciting theatrical masterpieces for audiences to enjoy in Sarasota and all over the world."

The project features architectural design by Sweet Sparkman Architects and Construction Management by Tandem Construction. Plans for the expansion garnered an SRQ Magazine 4 Walls Platinum Visionary Design Award in 2020. 

For more information on the expansion, visit https://www.asolorep.org/support-us/staging-our-future-capital-and-endowment-campaign.