Favorite

The Rep still works on new theater 

ARKANSAS REP: Might move.
  • ARKANSAS REP: Might move.

To say that Arkansas Repertory Theatre officials were shocked by the rejection of their grant request from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation would be an understatement.

The Rep sought $15 million to help pay for a move to a larger complex in downtown Little Rock, and it thought the project was just the thing the Reynolds Foundation would support. Many of the proponents for a new and better downtown Little Rock are Rep supporters, including Warren Stephens, whose father, Jack, was close friends with the foundation’s namesake.

Bob Hupp, the producing artistic director for the Rep since 2000, and his group spent three years preparing the grant request. But in November 2005, the Reynolds Foundation passed.

“We definitely won’t be going back in that direction,” said Hupp, noting that once a grant application is turned down by the foundation, it can’t be resubmitted.

But, Hupp said, the goal for the Rep is to remain a viable entity in downtown Little Rock. For now, it will make do with its space at 601 Main St., which houses its administrative offices, a main stage theater, its Second Stage — a small box theater on the third floor — and Club Mezz, a gathering spot for Rep patrons before and after shows.

“We’re working on our future,” Hupp said. “I have great hope that we’ll know something soon. But at this point we don’t have any new information. We’re exploring our options. We remain committed to downtown and we hope to resolve it as soon as we can.”

The Rep’s main theater seats 350 people. Hupp’s dream facility would maintain the intimate size but improve on acoustics and create a larger stage and production area. More room would allow the Rep to offer theater training year-round to a great number of students.

“We’ve grown so much in the last five or six years,” Hupp said. “We use every square foot of this building now.”

Patrons, too, need better “amenities,” Hupp said. “We work to create one-of-a-kind experiences when our audiences come down to the Rep, and we want that experience to translate to the lobbies, concessions and all the areas that are open to the public,” Hupp said.

The bustling activity by the Arkansas River would be a good spot for the theater, Hupp said. “I think that we could make a great contribution to the revitalization of downtown, particularly as that revitalization moves down Main Street, but for me, the most important thing is creating a facility that creates and supports our patrons and the artistic work we do.”

The proposal to the Reynolds Foundation said the new theater would have been built on what is now a parking lot on Main Street between Second and Third streets, a block owned by Stephens.

Hupp won’t talk about it, but sources indicate that Stephens property including the former Center Theater on Main between Fourth and Capitol is under study for conversion to a small theater for Arkansas Rep use.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

More by Arkansas Times Staff

Most Shared

  • 'Cemetery angel' Ruth Coker Burks featured in new short film

    Ruth Coker Burks, the AIDS caregiver and activist memorably profiled by David Koon as the cemetery angel in Arkansas Times in 2015, is now the subject of a short film made by actress Rose McGowan.
  • Buyer remorse

    Out here in flyover country, you can't hardly go by the feed store without running into a reporter doing one of those Wisdom of the Heartland stories.
  • Not Whitewater

    Just think: If Democrats had turned out 78,000 more votes in three states in November, people could be reveling today in the prospect of impeaching and convicting President Hillary Clinton, not Donald Trump, as some Republican lawmakers had promised to try to do if she won.
  • Head-shaking

    Another edition of so-much-bad-news-so-little space.

Latest in Top Stories

  • Good for the soul

    The return of Say McIntosh, restaurateur
    • Jun 1, 2010
  • Robocalls are illegal

    Robocalls -- recorded messages sent to thousands of phone numbers -- are a fact of life in political campaigns. The public doesn't like them much, judging by the gripes about them, but campaign managers and politicians still believe in their utility.
    • May 31, 2010
  • Riverfest winds down

    With Cedric Burnside and Lightnin' Malcolm, Steve Miller Band, Robert Cray, Ludacris and more performing.
    • May 30, 2010
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

July

S M T W T F S
  1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31  
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation