It has been an exciting few weeks for Richmond: a near-brush with Hurricane Joaquin (phew!), the start of the school year, and (of course!) the UCI World Championships! And while we haven't welcomed an audience to The Basement since we closed The Altruists and #PassionFire back in August, we at TheatreLAB have kept ourselves BUSY on this short production hiatus. So, what's been going on behind the blue door?
While visitors from around the globe swarmed Downtown Richmond, and world-class cyclists zipped past our front door (see photo- World Champion Peter Sagan moments after his incredible win, riding right past the front door of The Basement!) - we took two huge steps in our renovations.
First, THE STAIRCASE. If any of you follow us on Facebook or Instagram, you may have seen a photo of a brand new staircase leading down into our space. We have never been so excited to climb a set of stairs than the day this one was installed. Soon, this staircase will be equipped with an incline platform lift - removing any barriers between audiences wanting to visit or use our space, and bringing us up to full ADA compliance.
Second, SPRINKLERS. Perhaps not the sexiest or most exciting space update, but equally as important to the care and comfort of our patrons is Fire Safety! A brand new sprinkler system has been installed, which, combined with the addition of the staircase and platform lift, will allow us to soon begin hosting even more audience members in our space.
And last - and maybe most exciting! - our expansion into the basement space next door is ongoing! That's right! We have almost doubled our square footage and once completed, we will have a brand new dressing room area, a flex classroom/workshop/rehearsal space, additional storage capacity, and an open office area for our staff and CompanyArtists with a small kitchen to help us expand our bar. This work has been thrilling and is projected to be completed by January!
[The new staircase, and an in-progress shot of the doorway to our expanded space!]
We'll be keeping you updated throughout the fall with more construction and renovation updates, so keep your eye on the LABlog and on our Facebook and Instgram pages for those!
What's coming up next at The Basement? For the month of October, we are delighted to be hosting our friends at Quill Theatre for their production of American Buffalo by David Mamet. They have transformed The Basement into "Donny's Junk Shop" from top to bottom, but no spoiler photos just yet - you'll have to grab your tickets to opening weekend to get a first look! American Buffalo opens this Friday, October 9th (with a preview performance on October 8th), and will run until November 1st. Click here to snag your tickets - seating is limited!
That brings me to my final point - a question I've heard countless times in the lobby of The Basement is "Do you guys ever rent this place out?" The unequivocal answer is YES! Whenever we can! We love to see events of all kinds happen at The Basement, but we certainly can't fill up every day of the year ourselves (though try we might). As we complete our major renovations this fall, more availability is opening up in our schedule for potential rentals. Private parties, singer-songwriters and bands, comedians, movie screenings, fundraisers, art exhibitions... the list of possibilities goes on and on!
The first moment we stepped into The Basement almost two years ago (can you believe it?) we knew this was a space we wanted to cultivate as a creative hub in the heart of the Arts District. Now with the amazing changes happening, we are closer than ever to achieving that goal! But we can't do that without the help of our community. Are you planning an event but haven't found your perfect venue? Let us know! We offer competitively priced rental packages and will work with you on making your event a success. Availability and pricing questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Welcome back to the LABlog, readers! I look forward to more updates as fall continues, but until next time - stay warm! We can't wait to see you at The Basement!