In 1992 Steve J. Earle, Michael Gooding and Marcus Miller got together to produce a three night run of one-act plays we called Safe Sex based on Harvey Fierstein’s trilogy. Harvey gave us special permission to add Forget Him, which he had never let anyone else produce. The objective was to raise money for the aids crisis, which after 10 years of incubation in big cities, was then reaching serious proportions and looming large in the consciousness of Richmond. Thus was born Richmond Triangle Players. When we formed the company, Jacqui Singleton, local playwright, director, actor and musician, joined the board. John Knapp joined us to direct Vampire Lesbians of Sodom and Sleeping Beauty or Coma, and now serves as Vice President and Artistic Director.
For 15 years our home at Fieldens Cabaret Theatre was a cozy theater with a postage-stamp stage, on the top floor of a popular late-night club. The intimacy and atmosphere of the Fieldens space played a unique role in RTP’s history and artistic identity, as did its discomforts. Amenities were few. Access was difficult with steep stairs and no elevator, and restrooms were rudimentary. Heating and cooling were problematic. Overhead costs were modest, but options were limited.
However, success and growing audiences told us it was time for a new home. Inspired by the vision outlined at RTP’s 15th Anniversary Gala in September 2007, and the offer to us of a property that might provide a permanent home that the company could afford, RTP’s Board of Directors conducted due diligence on feasibility and the significant renovations needed to create a functional theater. Rental costs were below market rate; RTP would assume normal utility and other monthly costs. Well-known Richmond architects and contractors pledged their support. Board members and supporters volunteered their legal, renovation and business expertise.
Beginning the fall of 2008, we “hit the road” leaving our home of 15 years. For the next eighteen months, RTP was virtually a traveling troupe, producing shows in venues as varied as The Hat Factory in Shockoe Slip, the Metropolitan Community Church, the Gay Community Center, HATTheatre in the far west end, and the historic Empire Theatre complex downtown.
Despite the nation’s worst financial downturn in half a century, funds were raised, and construction began. Finally, renovations were finished, final inspections were completed and on February 10, 2010, Richmond Triangle Players opened its inaugural production, Facing East, in its wonderful new theater at 1300 Altamont Avenue.
RTP has transformed a former car radiator repair shop into a flexible, 4,000 square foot performing arts facility accommodating a 99-seat theater, dressing area, a graceful lobby, a generous bar, and comfortable restrooms. The ADA-compliant design is accessible to all. The new facility is available to the Richmond community for art shows, cabaret performances, private parties, and for use by other theatre companies. It is a safe and welcoming gathering place for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. And, the company can now qualify for grant support from foundations, government and corporate sources.
Most important, this exciting new venture will enhance understanding, acceptance, and appreciation for the unique and irreplaceable role that Richmond Triangle Players plays in the artistic, cultural and social life the of the Richmond area.
But there is still more to do. While many generous donors came forward to help us fund planning, development, and initial construction and renovations, we still have work to do, and bills to pay. We need to retire the balance on the remodeling line of credit with the bank, complete outfitting the space, and provide for storage. We also want to complete exterior upgrades and provide for visuals and signage. Your generous contributions to our Next Stage campaign will help us complete this journey. Your partnership with us to this point, and association with us on the journey forward, will be a source of enjoyment and pride to you and will merit the appreciation of the entire community for helping to provide this one-of-a-kind theater.
For complete information about how you can help, please contact Managing Director Philip Crosby (email@example.com or 804-342-7665) or Founding Director Michael Gooding (firstname.lastname@example.org or 804-231-7194). Thank you for your support of Richmond Triangle Players!
Richmond Triangle Players, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. Your contribution will help support our mission and is tax deductible as allowed by law. Clicking on the button below will take you to RTP’s profile on GiveRichmond.org, a program of The Community Foundation, which handles our online donations.