Arts and Culture

Louisville actors, directors and designers aren’t hurting for play projects, but they are hurting for space.  

A new show opens nearly every weekend, and for companies who don’t permanently occupy their own venue (Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Bard’s Town Theatre, The Alley, and to a certain extent the companies like Stage One  and the Broadway in Louisville series, who can afford the big stages in the Kentucky Center), finding affordable and suitable rooms for rehearsal and performance is a big challenge. There’s lots of competition for not very many stages, and as the performing arts community grows (it shows no sign of slowing down), venues will grow more crowded. 

A new rehearsal and performance space, Vault 1031, has a Kickstarter project running through Thursday to fund the renovation of an old armored car company building in Limerick that will become a  performance space and a 1,100 square feet rehearsal hall, with a dance floor and class space, too. The building has already been purchased and plans have been drawn. The phase up for funding now will complete the rehearsal space renovation, install a bamboo dance floor and pay for many interior improvements and exterior repair. 

Under the direction of Armored Car Theatre artistic directors Barbara Cullen and John Huffman, the building will eventually host a 130-seat performance venue, too. That’s a good size for Louisville’s smaller companies which, for the most part, lack the marketing budgets to fill bigger houses and tend to stage plays with small casts and less-complicated technical requirements than, say, “Wicked.” Future plans for the space also include art galleries in the old armored car vaults, a cafe and a performance project involving young arts students staging productions for the neighborhood’s senior citizens.

Limerick might not be the most obvious choice for such a venue, but it has many merits. It’s bound to be more affordable than a downtown construction or renovation project, for starters. The small neighborhood on the edge of Old Louisville could use the boost of energy and attention that a critical mass of artists and arts patrons bring to a block, and the location is convenient to downtown and the surrounding city neighborhoods. The project repurposes an existing building and uses its idiosyncrasies (armored vaults?) to its best advantage while including ambitious green components in the renovation. 

The Kickstarter project, which must meet its funding goal or forfeit all pledges, is well on its way to a $15,000 goal by Thursday morning, which indicates there’s interest and support for the venue. 

Here’s the Kickstarter video: