Take in a Show at Sarasota’s Asolo Repertory Theater
If your list of things to do in Tampa and Sarasota includes a trip to the theater to take in a stunning stage production, head straight to the Asolo Repertory Theater at 5555 North Tamiami Trail in Sarasota, Florida. In addition to being the largest Equity theater in Florida, and the largest Repertory theater in the entire Southeastern United States, the building is also a historic site with a rich and surprising past. No trip to the area is complete without a stop at the Asolo to hopefully see a show, but to at least take in the stunning location.
History of the Asolo Repertory Theater
The Asolo Reperatory Theater takes it’s name from the location of the original performance space: Asolo, Italy, just outside of Venice. The space was originally constructed in 1798 and set up in a castle. The main elements of the space were dismantled in 1930 and put into storage where they languished for almost 20 years. Thankfully, in 1949 the museum director of the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art at Florida State University learned of the theater’s existence, purchased it, shipped it to Sarasota, and had it reassembled on campus. In the late 1950s, a new building was constructed for the theater that was more suitable for modern productions but which retained the original’s most striking features. The theater underwent a major renovation in 2006 and now looks better than ever.
What to See at the Asolo Repertory Theater
The Asolo plays host to a wide variety of stage productions. The Asolo Repertory Company no longer uses the theater as its primary performance space but does hold several productions a year there. Those shows are complimented by a variety of touring productions ranging from plays, lectures, concerts, and films. The theater maintains a robust performance schedule and offers something for all audiences. Thanks to its use of tiered boxes and a horseshoe-shaped design, the Asolo offers an intimate performance space connecting audience and performer and ensuring that every seat is a great seat.
Visiting the Asolo Repertory Theater
You have two options for visiting the theater: attending a performance or taking a tour of the beautiful historic establishment. Check out their schedule to see what shows coincide with your trip to the area, and if something jumps out at you, be sure to purchase tickets early as they often sell out. If you simply want to tour the theater, it’s open to the public daily from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Directly outside of the theater entrance is a brief documentary detailing the Asolo’s storied past. Docent led tours are also available by special request. The Asolo Repertory theater is located on the grounds of the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, a sprawling site that contains a wide variety of cultural exhibitions. Make a whole day of it, and see all that this Florida jewel has to offer.
Many of us here at Cox Mazda regularly go to the Asolo Repertory Theater to see some of the area’s best and most unique performances. We hope that you enjoy it as much as we do.
All photos courtesy of Asolo Repertory Theatre.