I’ve wanted to do this for my entire life, but now I’m really itching to do it. I want to open a theater here in Bon Air.
I grew up in Bon Air and have always adored it. It’s a beautiful part of town that still has a lot of its charm from its days as a Victorian vacation spot. There are some great restaurants and locally-owned shops, and it’s close to just about everything. The one thing we’re missing? Live entertainment. I know we must have some somewhere over here, but it’s hard to find it. If it’s out there, I haven’t found it yet outside of the schools.
When I was in high school, a lot of my friends were interested in trying to get some professional and community theatre credits, but their parents wouldn’t let them audition. This was usually because it was just too inconvenient for them to go “all the way downtown”…but for some, it was because “downtown is too dangerous.” Okay, I’ve worked at and/or attended shows at every theater in Richmond and Petersburg at least once. I’ve never felt like I was in any kind of danger. I’m not quite sure why so many people seem to think that the moment you cross into the city limits you’re going to get mugged. It was a shame to see my very interested and talented friends be kept away from the opportunity to experience professional theatre.
While I don’t get the fear of Big Bad Downtown Richmond (don’t drunkenly stumble down dark alleys and you’ll likely be okay), I do understand the convenience issue. A lot of parents are already struggling to balance family activities, and I don’t know a single person who isn’t insanely busy these days. That’s another reason why I think this side of town could really benefit from a theater…it could open doors for a whole new crop of people and provide a more convenient location for actors and technicians who have moved to this area!
I know it’s incredibly difficult to start a theatre company. I know it will take a lot of learning and sudden business know-how on my part. I know that I certainly can’t do it on my own…but I also know that if I don’t at least try to make this happen, I will regret it! There are so many talented people living a spit away from us (seriously, Bon Air is quickly becoming the spot to where young theatre couples move and make babies happen). I know that if this happens, it could really be something special.