Works begins on new downtown Dayton theater

Construction has begun on a new, 200-seat theater in downtown Dayton that hopes to reach new audiences with interactive and flexible space for shows and other programming.

The new Arts Annex, at West Second and North Ludlow streets, will be a versatile space perfect for events, shows, receptions, meetings, classes and other activities, said Ken Neufeld, president and CEO of the Victoria Theatre Association, which is behind the project.

The Victoria Theatre Association’s “Discovery Series” reaches about 26,000 students each year with programming that directly connects with their curriculum, and starting next year, the Arts Annex will host four shows in the series, in addition to a family series show.

Additionally, two local theater companies have already booked the Arts Annex for their 2018-19 seasons.

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To kick things off later this year, the Playground Theatre will use the space for its production of “The Feast” (Oct. 25 t0 Oct. 28). The Arts Annex will be home to Dare 2 Defy’s production of “Sideshow” (Nov. 9, 10, 16, 17).

“Dare 2 Defy and The Playground Theatre have both quickly outgrown the Mathile Theatre, our black box at the Schuster Center,” Gary Minyard, vice president of education and engagement with the Victoria Theatre Association, said in a prepared statement.

The Victoria Theatre Association’s education and engagement programs are “bursting at the seams,” and the new venue will offer interactive theater experiences, Minyard said.

The Discovery Series shows include "Rosa Parks" (Feb. 7, 2019), "How to Survive Middle School" (Feb. 25), "Hope Takes Flight" (April 10), and "The Young King." The Young King, by Oscar Wilde, is produced by Slingsby, an Australian theater company. Show times are May 8 to 10, 2019, for the Discovery Series and May 9 to 12, 2019, for the Family Series.

The Victoria Theatre Association has signed a lease for the space, which is in the Courthouse Crossing building.

A grand opening date has not yet been announced, but Neufeld said he’s confident the annex will open in the early fall.

RELATED: New ‘Arts Annex’ planned in downtown Dayton

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