Local Guide: Where to Watch a Play

Posted by Julian Yates on Tuesday, November 26th, 2019 at 12:00pm.

Often called “Florida's Cultural Coast,” Sarasota is well known for its many theatres. Each offers a wonderful variety of shows where audiences have been delighted for decades. With so many standout area theatres, residents are almost guaranteed a new show every week.

Historic Asolo Theater – America's only 18th century European theatre, the Historic Asolo Theater is one of the most beloved objects in The Ringling collection. Crafted in Asolo, Italy in 1798, it was brought to Sarasota, piece by piece, in the early 1950s and painstakingly restored in 2006.

Asolo Repertory Theatre - A world-renowned acting company known for producing the highest quality professional theatre in true rotating repertory, the Asolo company started performing in the Historic Asolo before it outgrew the theatre. In 1990, the company moved to what is now the nearby FSU Center for the Performing Arts and the beautiful Mertz Theatre became its new mainstage.

Florida Studio Theatre - In operation in Downtown Sarasota since 1973, FST is known for producing contemporary works which have been produced on or off-Broadway within the last five years. They offer a wide range of performances out of three theatres: the 173-seat Keating Mainstage Theatre, the 160-seat Gompertz Theatre and the 109-seat Goldstein Cabaret Theatre, where you can also catch the antics of the FST Improv Troupe.

The Urbanite Theatre – One of Sarasota's newest theatrical experiences, the Urbanite Theatre brings compelling, intimate live theater experiences to Downtown Sarasota in a black box format. They are well known for offering up fresh works by burgeoning playwrights, and actor-driven productions where the audience is immersed into the performances.

The Players Centre for Performing Arts – As one of Sarasota's oldest theatres, The Players has proven to be an invaluable resource for the development of the area's rich, artistic culture. The non-professional community theatre provided the stage for Montgomery Clift's acting debut in its 1932-33 season, even before it moved into its first 236 seat facility at its current location near Downtown Sarasota. Having moved into the current theatre in the early '70's, The Players intend on building a new facility in Lakewood Ranch soon, so be sure to catch one of their shows before they move.

Manatee Players – Formed in 1947, this community theatre moved into the brand-new Manatee Performing Arts Center in March 2013. Known for their productions of Broadway musicals as well as their studio series “straight” plays.

Venice Theatre – Originally called Venice Little Theatre, when they realized they were the largest community theatre in the United States, per capita, they dropped the “Little.” Producing shows since the 1950s, Venice Theatre has become as well known for its more edgy Cabaret series as its mainstage musicals.

West Coast Black Theatre Troupe - Founded in December 1999 by actor, singer, director, and playwright Nate Jacobs, the WBTT is the only professional black theatre company on Florida’s west coast. They produce some comedies and thought-provoking dramas, but are most well known for their musicals, many of them written, adapted, and/or directed by Jacobs himself.

Be sure to get out and experience some of the incredible talent this region has to offer and see for yourself why it's called “Florida's Creative Coast.”


Sarasota Area Real Estate Specialist


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Sarasota Area Real Estate Specialist

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