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Arts & Entertainment

Virginia Repertory Theatre purchases Scottish Rite Temple in Northside to expand programming

The first show to be presented in the facility will be ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, just in time for the holidays.

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In a historic move, Virginia Repertory Theatre has acquired the Scottish Rite Temple, which will become the new home for its Children’s Theatre. It will be known as the Virginia Rep Center for Arts and Education and will house children’s theatre productions, educational touring programs, camps, classes, and workshops.

The Scottish Rite Temple will be ready to use upon acquisition of the property on Tuesday, October 11. The facility features three distinct performance areas – a 650-seat main auditorium and two smaller studio stages – that will allow for an increase in the number and diversity of performances. There is rehearsal space for the 18 annual tour productions that reach over 400,000 students and families across the country. In addition, there is room to double the number of camps, classes, and workshops currently offered.

The first show to be presented in the facility will be ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, just in time for the holidays. More details with show dates and times will be announced soon. It will also be the future permanent home for Gospel Nativity, a new, annual holiday partnership with Virginia Union University, which houses the only Gospel Music degree program in the nation.

“Virginia Rep is arguably among the top five children’s theatres in the nation in terms of scope of programming, geographic reach, and audience size, but our facilities have not been on par with this distinction until now,” said Managing Director Phil Whiteway. “After leaving our rented space at Willow Lawn during COVID and months of careful planning and due diligence, this investment will allow us to create a new path for the future of Virginia Rep’s children’s, families, and schools programming, which represents about 50% of our total operation.”

The theatre company is paying $3.5M for the purchase and will include a reserve of about $1.5M as part of Phase 1 of the Great Stages Campaign, which has a goal of $5.2M.

“Our internal goal was to reach 50% of the $5.2M in commitments prior to closing. We are proud that we have met that goal. Leadership gifts include over $1.1M in commitments from our Board of Directors, as well as a generous 2:1 challenge grant of $750,000 issued by The Cabell Foundation, with additional support from numerous other sources,” Whiteway reported.

The new building offers a major advantage for families and schools with a safe and secure drop-off and pick-up area, as well as a large lighted parking lot with 230 spaces. It is also accessible by public transit on the GRTC bus line.

“One of the really exciting aspects of the new building is the full commercial kitchen and dining hall,” said Whiteway. “We envision many fun special events, community gatherings, themed character meals and school group lunches taking place in this large space.”

The new Virginia Rep Center for Arts and Education is located at 4202 Hermitage Road in Richmond’s Hermitage Road Historic District, adjacent to the Bellevue neighborhood, with close proximity to Bryan Park that allows for outdoor programming and new community partnerships. This landmark building, the former home of the Richmond Children’s Theatre, has a long history as a performing arts venue. Virginia Rep is preserving this legacy and will be making it available to other local theatres, dance companies, schools, community nonprofits, and other area arts and education organizations.

“With this project, we will be saving the historic Scottish Rite Temple, – ‘Richmond’s Kennedy  Center,’ – as a performing arts space for RVA audiences,” Whiteway added. “Other parties interested in acquiring the property included real estate developers, who, due to its ideal central location and off-street parking, sought to raze the building to construct condos or apartments.”

In 1953, Virginia Rep (as Barksdale Theatre) saved the historic Hanover Tavern. And, 33 years later, in 1986, Virginia Rep (as Theatre IV) saved the historic Empire Theatre (now the November Theatre). Now, 36 years later, Virginia Rep will save the historic Scottish Rite Temple to become the Virginia Rep Center for Arts and Education.

Each year, Virginia Repertory Theatre performs live for approximately 530,000 children, teens, adults and seniors, giving the theatre the largest annual audience of any performing arts organization in Greater Richmond. The company produces professional seasons in three major venues; has an educational tour that has gone to every school district in Virginia; a national tour in 32 states and Washington, D.C. and important Community Health + Wellness initiatives that address complex social issues and educational challenges through the power of live theatre.

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Trevor Dickerson is the Editor and Co-Founder of RVAHub.

Arts & Entertainment

Punks for Presents Tickets on Sale Now

Punk music shows that provide presents for kids in need is a truly worthy cause.

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A Richmond punk rock Christmas tradition beginning in 2005. Christmas themed punk and metal parody bands putting on shows for charity every year!

You can learn more on Instagram or Facebook. Their still looking for prize donations and sponsors. Head over to one of those social media spots and drop them a DM.

Lineup

December 9, 2022 NIGHT 1 – THE CAMEL $10 ALL AGES
https://www.etix.com/ticket/p/5838562/punks-for-presents-at-the-camel-richmond-the-camel
IMAGINARY TOYS (THE CURE)
TOY DIVISION (JOY DIVISION)
X-MAS (X)
JOLLY HOLLY (BUDDY HOLLY)

December 10, 2022 NIGHT 2 – WONDERLAND $10 21+
https://www.etix.com/ticket/p/8522910/punks-for-presents-at-wonderland-richmond-wonderland
ROCKET QUEEN (GUNS N ROSES)
SMOOCH (KISS)
MERRYDETH (MEGADETH)

December 16, 2022 NIGHT 3 – RICHMOND MUSIC HALL $10 ALL AGES
https://www.etix.com/ticket/p/2384207/punks-for-presents-at-richmond-music-hall-richmond-richmond-music-hall
YOOL (TOOL)
SNO TEMPLE PILOTS (STONE TEMPLE PILOTS)
HIGH VOLTAGE (AC/DC)
SMASHING PRESENTS (SMASHING PUMPKINS
)SNOASIS (OASIS)

December 17, 2022 NIGHT 4 – HARDYWOOD $10 ALL AGES
https://www.etix.com/ticket/p/4831118/punks-for-presents-at-hardywood-richmond-hardywood
OPERATION ICY (OPERATION IVY)
DEC.ENDENTS (DESCENDENTS)
MXPXMAS (MXPX)
SALT, SWEAT, SUGAR-COOKIES (JIMMY EAT WORLD)
RUDOLPH THE RED NOSED REIN-QUEERS (THE QUEERS)
KRIS LITTLE KRINGLES (STIFF LITTLE FINGERS)

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We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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Arts & Entertainment

VMFA announces upcoming exhibition “Isaac Julien: Lessons of the Hour — Frederick Douglass”

“We are thrilled to have Lessons of the Hour — Frederick Douglass in VMFA’s collection,” said Cassel Oliver. “Frederick Douglass’ powerful orations and the innovative and captivating cinematography of Issac Julien will help visitors better understand Douglass’ legacy and the relevance to our contemporary experience.”

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The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) this week announced the multi-screen film installation Isaac Julien: Lessons of the Hour — Frederick Douglass, on view at the museum in Richmond from December 10, 2022 through July 9, 2023. The installation is organized by Valerie Cassel Oliver, VMFA’s Sydney and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art.

“The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is delighted to present this compelling work about Frederick Douglass, one of the most significant figures in American history,” said Alex Nyerges, VMFA’s Director and CEO. “Through his advocacy in abolition and women’s suffrage, he called on the nation to make important reforms and embrace human rights, regardless of race or gender.”

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts will present the film as an immersive ten-screen experience as envisioned by its creator, internationally renowned London-born artist and filmmaker, Sir Isaac Julien. The work is a poetic meditation on the great abolitionist and features a series of vignettes from Douglass’ life prior to and during his travel to the United Kingdom in 1841. Using arresting visuals and sound, Julien brings the historical figure to life and collapses time and space to bridge history with the persistent concerns of our day.

“We are thrilled to have Lessons of the Hour — Frederick Douglass in VMFA’s collection,” said Cassel Oliver. “Frederick Douglass’ powerful orations and the innovative and captivating cinematography of Issac Julien will help visitors better understand Douglass’ legacy and the relevance to our contemporary experience.”

Douglass is portrayed by Shakespearean actor Ray Fearon in a series of fragmented scenes that are woven with spoken word, photography and contemporary footage to make the historic figure’s modern-day relevance and resonance undeniable. The 25-minute installation, which appears on multiple screens where images converge as a whole and then fragment into a montage, can be watched repeatedly, welcoming visitors to sit in the meditative space for a nonlinear viewing experience that makes each encounter with the work unique.

The installation also includes three tintype portraits — a collaboration between Julien and photographer Rob Ball — of the film’s subjects, Frederick Douglass, his wife Anna Murray Douglass and prominent African-American photographer J. P. Ball. Douglass was aware that words and images had powerful meaning. He used media, specifically photography, to counter the misperceptions of Black people in 19th-century America. Through a lifelong collaboration with Ball, Douglass had portraits taken of himself, portraying the Black body as noble and beautiful, and became the most photographed individual of the century.

The world premiere of the rare ten-screen film installation of Isaac Julien: Lessons of the Hour — Frederick Douglass took place in 2019, at the Memorial Art Gallery at the University of Rochester, which commissioned the film and partnered with VMFA to acquire the work for both museums’ permanent collections.

For more information about Isaac Julien: Lessons of the Hour — Frederick Douglass and programs related to the exhibition, visit www.VMFA.museum.

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We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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Arts & Entertainment

Catch the Holiday Spirit at Maymont with Christmas tours, wreath workshops and a Merry Market

Check out the historic mansion decked out for the holidays, get your shopping done, and enjoy a merry good time at Maymont this holiday season.

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There’s no place like Maymont for the holidays, and something for everyone at the estate this time of year. First, starting November 18 through January 1, 2023, a special Christmas-themed audio tour will be offered at Maymont Mansion, which will be decorated for the season in Victorian style. The self-guided tour provides insights into the high pomp — and hard work — of holiday entertaining during the Gilded Age.

Second, the public is invited to create their own fresh evergreen wreaths in one of seven hands-on Wreath Workshops, Tuesday, November 29 – Saturday, December 3, under the expert guidance of Maymont staff. And a new event, Merry Market, Friday, December 2 & Saturday, December 3, celebrates winter with a two-day, pop-up holiday market of 50 local artisans, plus cozy fire pits, a festive holiday bar, live music, crafts for kids and a chance to take a selfie with Saint Nicholas.

The highlight of Merry Market is shopping for locally crafted, and imported handmade gifts in an outdoor marketplace surrounded by historic buildings draped in fresh evergreen garlands and twinkling lights on the Carriage House Lawn. Shoppers can stay fueled up with something tasty from the festive holiday bar and food vendors, and warm up around fire pits and outdoor heaters, while an a cappella vocal group and a jazz combo set the mood. Kids can make their own handmade gifts and decorations and snap a photo with Saint Nicholas.

Artisans will be selling a variety of hand-crafted accessories, décor, and housewares that make thoughtful gifts for the holidays. Among the offerings are stained glass artworks by KiYay Studios, pottery by Tana Makes, art prints by Laura Marr/FlourishRVA, fair-trade décor and accessories selected and imported by one little world, handmade jewelry by Bee is for Bead, gifts for nature lovers by Rabbit & Wren, handmade fabric products from India imported by Asha project, art by Abuelita’s, custom polymer jewelry by SassyHappy, woodworking by Southside Sawdust, plus, hand embroidery, candles, soaps, knitwear, pet treats and accessories, and much more!

“Merry Market is a chance for the community to celebrate the season with friends and neighbors in the unique historic setting at Maymont,” said Parke Richeson, Executive Director. “With live music, holiday lights, cozy fire pits, and crafts for kids, everyone will enjoy relaxing on the Carriage House Lawn along with a little holiday shopping with local small businesses and craftspeople.”

Saint Nicholas will be available for photos with the family, and children can also make their own gifts and holiday decorations at the crafts tent. A selection of food, desserts, hot coffee, cocoa, and other beverages will be available for separate purchase from food vendors, including Goatocado, The Cocky Rooster, Monique’s Crepes, Timber Pizza, and Pops Kettle Corn. The festive holiday bar will serve red wine and holiday craft beers to guests ages 21 and over.

Merry Market tickets may be purchased in advance or at the gate for $10 per person; $5 for children ages 3 – 12; and free for children ages 2 and under. Maymont members enjoy free admission. Guests who present an EBT card receive discounted tickets for $3 (on-site only) through the Museums for All program. All proceeds benefit Maymont.

Please note: Maymont will close at 4 pm on Friday, December 2, and 1 pm on Saturday, December 3, to prepare for Merry Market. Guests will enter Merry Market through the Historic Estate entrance at 1700 Hampton Street. Event parking is available at the Historic Estate parking lot and The Robins Nature Center, in addition to street parking. The Maymont Farm entrance is closed for the event. Merry Market takes place entirely outdoors, rain or shine, except in the case of severe weather. Guests are advised to wear weather-appropriate clothing and footwear suited for an outdoor lawn.

The Wreath Workshops tend to fill up in advance and include wreath supplies and refreshments, but guests are advised to bring their own snippers and gardening gloves. On Friday and Saturday, Dec. 2-3, Wreath Workshop admission ($55 per person, $41 for members) includes admission to Merry Market. Times vary; visit the events calendar for details.

Holiday Audio Tours are $8 per person, $6 for children ages 3 – 12, and free for Maymont Members and Museums for All participants.

Will you help support independent, local journalism?

We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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