Brendan Ragan, Summer Wallace and Harry Lipstein are all attracted to intimate, truthful and exciting black box theater. Their vision of a different edgy and hip theater recieved a warm welcome this spring during its inaugural season. Urbanite Theatre —the first new professional theater company to open in the thriving Sarasota arts and cultural community since 2002 —sold out its first perfomance of “Chicken Shop” to an enthusiastic audience.
“We felt that Sarasota was the perfect fit because of a couple reasons,” Ragan explained. “It’s a powerful arts community with passionate and dedicated arts patrons. And, even though there is magnificent theater here, we felt the city was missing one crucial ingredient: the small black box theater doing cutting edge work.”
Ragan and Wallace, both graduates of the Florida State University/Asolo Conservatory for Acting Training in Sarasota, serve as the theater’s co-artistic directors. Lipstein, an entrepreneur and co-founder, is also an actor with the company.
The newly designed 1,495-square-foot theater space seats between 50 and 70 people, including a dressing room for the actors and a lobby. The founders secured funding to build out the space specifically for the theater through an anonymous benefactor. Ticket prices are $20 for adults and $5 for students. Ragan and Wallace hope to receive donor underwriting in the future to cover the costs of the reduced pricing to allow more performances of each show.
Urbanite Theatre | 1487 2nd Street, Sarasota | 941.321.1397 | UrbaniteTheatre.com