New performing arts center ready for its close-up | New

NEW TAMPA — The public is invited to take a peek at what’s happening at the New Tampa Performing Arts Center. It will serve as a venue of choice that will offer exciting shows and event space for rent.

A ribbon cutting is scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday, October 13 at 8550 Hunters Village Road, Tampa. Adrienne Rouse, recreation services manager for Hillsborough County, said to participate in a tour of the center, appropriate clothing such as long pants and closed-toe shoes should be worn. A safety helmet will be provided.

“The building is not yet occupied, there is still work to be completed with the construction project,” Rouse said.

The New Tampa Performing Arts Center will be a shared facility with a room for performing arts groups to hold workshops, practices and meeting spaces. It will be a 350-seat room with retractable seats that can transform the room into a multipurpose room.

In addition, there will be four dance studios, administrative spaces, a food hall, a shop, two changing rooms, a green room and a piano storage room.

The New Tampa Performing Arts Center is owned by the county and will be operated by Parks and Recreation for the next two years, which will be followed by a reassessment period for the partners. Rouse expects the facility to open early next year, with a performance already scheduled with the New Tampa Players in March.

Currently, Parks and Recreation is preparing to begin interviews for leadership positions by the end of October.

“When I learned that Parks and Recreation was going to inherit responsibility for running the performing arts center, all of a sudden I got a lot of calls from all over the area,” Rouse said. “I can tell you that the New Tampa area is very rich in performing arts.”

Local ballet groups and theater groups have embraced and appreciated this new opportunity in the neighborhood, Rouse said. Reservations for the one-year shows have already been launched. Rouse said if you look around Hillsborough County, community centers are strategically placed from Carrollwood and South Tampa to the Straz Center downtown.

“There was really nothing up north, so I guess that’s why they targeted that area,” Rouse said. “They realized we had all this new growth, we don’t have a location here and that seems like something this community is really focused on.”

Rouse said she was looking forward to seeing the performing arts center put on a variety of shows in a range of mediums. Comedians, dance groups, theater numbers and more are just a few of the acts in the mix.

William E. Bennett