By Natasha Anderson
The Wortham Center (WC) for the Performing Arts, comprising the existing 500-seat Diana Wortham Theatre and the new Tina McGuire Theatre and Henry LaBrun Studio, gears up for a September opening. The two new, performance-ready stages provide spaces for individuals and community organizations to host events and interact with larger audiences using the same professional infrastructure as the world-class artists who will perform on them during the WC Mainstage Season.
“Community use has always been a key purpose of the Pack Place building and the Wortham Center’s new venues are more accessible to local organizations,” says WC community engagement director Jared McEntire. “The additional spaces will also allow us to expand our season programming in order to reach new audiences, create a deeper connection with our members and extend artists’ impact while in Asheville.”
The Tina McGuire Theatre is a 1,500 square foot performance venue with convertible seating options for 80-100. It is ideal for music, comedy, theatre and dance performances; corporate or professional events, meetings or conferences with PowerPoint/presentation capabilities; community receptions; workshopping performances; and readings or storytelling. The theatre also comes with dressing rooms and a green room for performers.
The Henry LaBrun Studio is a 1,075 square foot performance venue with seating for 65-85. It is ideal for lectures; keynotes; storytelling; readings; cabaret-style events; yoga (or similar) classes; gaming tournaments; special screenings; youth events; intimate piano concerts; and chamber and acoustic music. This space has its own lobby and access to a private VIP breakout area with access to a prep-kitchen for caterers.
“Our reputation as a world-class performance venue with a high-caliber professional technical crew will easily transfer to our new intimate theatre and studio,” says WC operations manager Tiffany Santiago. “Several community partners have already begun envisioning and planning their use.”
Both of the new spaces have professionally sprung dance floors and access to the WC courtyard, lobby, box office, lounge and concession area. The Wortham Center’s professional lighting and sound staff are available upon request for an hourly fee. “Local arts groups can expect technical and production support of the highest quality, no matter the event size,” says McEntire.
The WC’s main entrance and courtyard are also being redesigned and streamlined. The outdoor entrance will transform into a gathering space with a busker stage, seating areas for patrons and designated dining areas for White Duck Taco and Marble Slab Creamery.
The Wortham Center for the Performing Arts is located at 18 Biltmore Avenue, in Asheville. Inquiries can be made for one venue, multiple venues or for the entire Wortham Center. To inquire, contact Tiffany Santiago at firstname.lastname@example.org.