Unrivalled Variety at Florida Studio Theatre in Sarasota

Sarasota’s cultural scene is greatly enriched by the Florida Studio Theatre, or FST as it is known. Located on North Palm Avenue downtown Sarasota, this contemporary non-profit theater has been thrilling theatergoers since 1973. It currently attracts over 200,000 attendees each season.

The main productions are spread across several venues. They include the Mainstage Series, the Cabaret Series and Stage III, along with Children’s Theater, education, new play development, and Write a Play projects.

Why you should visit Florida Studio Theatre in Sarasota, Florida. Must Do Visitor Guides | MustDo.com

Multiple Venues at Florida Studio Theatre in Sarasota

The Florida Studio Theatre is not one, but multiple theaters. Located in the heart of downtown Sarasota, Florida it includes the historic Keating and Gompertz Theatres, Bowne’s Lab Theatre, and the Goldstein and John C. Court Cabarets, bringing a distinctly Parisian flavor to the mix. Each theater offers a small but intimate performance space with something for everyone.

Started in 1973, FST has bloomed to its current top position. It now operates a $6 million budget, thanks in part to over 30,000 loyal annual subscribers. Despite its small size, it is the third largest subscription theater in the USA–not bad for a city with a population of just 53,000 residents!

Florida Studio Theater is a contemporary theatre Located in Downtown Sarasota Florida Studio Theatre's three theatres provide an intimate and engaging setting for professional, high-quality performances. Must Do Visitor Guides, MustDo.com.

Photo credit Nita Ettinger

A Variety of Programs at FST

There’s something for every taste with a variety of programs at FST and the flagship is the Mainstage series. It presents a program of plays that represent the best in contemporary American theater. It includes seven annual productions including regional premiers and new works as well as popular Broadway and Off-Broadway shows.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Florida Studio Theatre Sarasota, Florida. Must Do Visitor Guides | MustDo.com

Photo courtesy Florida Studio Theatre

FST Mainstage offers an important opportunity for emerging plays and scriptwriters. To date it has produced 33 world premieres and 89 regional premieres in its groundbreaking programs. One of its most important successes was hosting an early production of Around the World in 80 Days long before its Off-Broadway success.

Started in 1996, the Cabaret Series focuses on musical reviews in many different formats. Look out for lyric poets, political satire, and plenty of improvisation performances each season.

Stage III is even more offbeat, dedicating itself to socially significant performances. The program is handpicked to stimulate audiences as well as offering entertainment value. Stage III also hosts the Sarasota Improv Festival, now in its 11th year.

Improv comedy show Florida Studio Theatre downtown Sarasota, Florida. Must Do Visitor Guides | MustDo.com

Photo courtesy Florida Studio Theatre

Children’s Theater at Sarasota FST

Yet another aspect of the Florida Studio Theatre are the programs designed specifically for children. Now in its 28th year, the Write a Play program has touched over one million youngsters, inspiring them to explore a story and write an original play in conjunction with their academic studies.

More recently, the Saturday Children’s Theatre Series began in 2016. It encourages youngsters to spend quality time as a family exploring theatrical arts and analyzing how the shows make them feel.

With over 20 weekly classes in theater, dance, and music, the Florida Studio Theater is invested in future generations “treading the boards” and appreciating the performance arts. Scholarship programs are available to support children and adults who show promising talent.

Florida Studio Theatre’s Children’s Theatre Sarasota, Florida. Must Do Visitor Guides | MustDo.com

Photo courtesy Florida Studio Theatre

Supporting Local Theater in Sarasota

Florida Studio Theatre is committed to making the arts accessible and affordable to a broad-based audience. Under the current Artistic Director, the 2018-19 FST program includes premieres, live music, Broadway hits, children’s theater, and an eclectic mix of new offerings from Peter Pan to Unchained Melodies. Plays will include A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder and Wednesday’s Child. Fans of the Winter Cabaret can look forward to Guitar Girls and The Wonder Years.

As you can see, both visitors and residents alike will want to check out the schedule online and be part of Sarasota’s thriving cultural scheme by attending one or more of the offerings at Florida Studio Theatre.

Florida Studio Theatre in Sarasota. Contemporary non-profit theater in downtown Sarasota, Florida offers intimate performances with Broadway, Off-Broadway, Improv, and Children’s Theater performances. Must Do Visitor Guides | MustDo.com

Written by:

Nita Ettinger is Co-publisher for Siesta Publications Inc. and the Editor in Chief for Must Do Visitor Guides. Must Do Visitor Guides provides Southwest Florida visitor information through printed magazines and the website MustDo.com. Must Do magazines are published bi-annually and are available at no cost in Sarasota, Lee, and Collier County Chamber of Commerce, visitor information centers, select Southwest Florida hotels, and wherever free publications can be found.