Ocean State Theatre Company, the producing entity at Theatre by the Sea in Matunuck, is looking at opening a new venue on Jefferson Boulevard. With their contract under negotiation at Theatre by the Sea (TBTS), there is some speculation that Warwick may become the sole home of the non-profit arts company that has managed TBTS since its 2007 re-opening.
Amiee Turner, producing artistic director of Ocean State Theatre Company (OSTC) announced this week that OSTC would hold an informational meeting for supporters at 1245 Jefferson Blvd. OSTC is looking to convert the formerly Verizon building into a 476-seat theater. On Tuesday night, the Board of Public Safety approved their request to hold an event at the building. Turner said the event on Saturday would be an invite-only, private gathering.
“It’s an opportunity for us to talk to our current supporters about the process,” said Turner.
Turner and OSTC are looking to enter into a long-term lease of the Jefferson Blvd. property. Although this agreement has not been finalized, Turner said their “90-percent there,” and an agreement could be reached within three or four weeks.
The space will be used as a performance venue during off-season months at Theatre by the Sea, which Turner hopes to stay involved with.
“We’ll be at Theatre by the Sea until we get kicked out,” she said with a laugh. “Obviously it isn’t 100 percent our decision.”
Bill Hanney bought the seaside barn and reopened it in 2007. He still owns the property.
Hanney said yesterday that they are currently in discussions with OSTC, whose contract will expire at the end of the 2012 summer season. OSTC has been the producing entity at TBTS since 2007.
“We’re not sure which direction we’re going to go until we have our discussions and decide how their plans will fit,” said Hanney.
OSTC has been on a year-to-year contract basis with Hanney until 2011, when the past season and the upcoming 2012 season were lumped together.
Turner is hopeful Hanney will have OSTC stick around, even after they acquire the Jefferson Blvd. building.
“It could work out beautifully,” said Turner, who said the barn that houses Theater by the Sea is more than 100 years old, and cannot handle a lot of stress.
“We look at this as something that works pretty seamlessly with what we’re trying to do at Theatre by the Sea,” she said.