Common Ground and the Search for the Truth

“Welcome O life! I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race.”
-James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Florida Studio Theatre is committed to creating the uncreated conscience of the race. We are a theatre that is brave enough to be guileless, and guileless enough to believe that Universal Truths do exist. We believe that if we discover and share those truths that they will become the values that bind us together as a nation, as a culture, and as individuals with integrity – holding fast to all that is good and true and honest in the American spirit today.

While theatre makes our community a good place to raise children, it makes it an even better place to raise adults. I believe theatre is that secular place where all things can be questioned. And in America today, we need that more than ever.

At FST, we want to enter into dialogue with you, our audience. Thus, we seek out a wide variety of plays to entertain with as much gusto as they challenge. In my 38 years of producing theatre in Sarasota, I’ve found one thing to be constant about every play that we produce: they will either challenge your values, or confirm your values. We aim to balance challenge with confirmation. We produce plays that foster a depth of thinking and sometimes ask us to change, and we produce plays that through laughter and music bond us together in the celebration of life. That is the nature of theatre. And that is why we all love it.

Today, we operate five stages to serve our audience; we offer a variety of experiences, which ultimately help us broaden our lives – as we reach into the mystery of it all.
• The Mainstage Series serves the widest audience with a variety of contemporary plays and musicals. Our goal is to put the world on the stage, and our hope is that we will find the world in the audience.
• The Cabaret Series serves those who love music and musical revues in an intimate turn of the Century Parisian setting. In this intimate space we produce the great lyric Poets of our Age: From Gershwin to Elton John; From Billy Joel to Bob Dylan. Our goal is to entertain with as much gusto as we challenge.
• And the Stage III Series serves those who seek to challenge.
We have built a village of theatres. This village of theatres reflects diversity of thought and the abundance of human endeavor found in our community, our region, our nation, and this year especially…our World. This season leads us to a better understanding of each other.

I hope you enjoy the diversity of opportunities we offer. We do so, not because we think we have the answer. Rather, we do so because we want to raise the questions that help lead us to the collective answers to life’s many challenges. Collectively, we arrive at a better answer because together we can begin to see clearly.

We have a GREAT line-up plays and musicals.

This year, FST is on the edge. We are producing Mainstage Season that both Challenges and entertains. Native Gardens is a fluffy comedy on the surface and surreptitiously reveals our nagging biases toward people who are different. Honor Killing is a drama ripped from the headlines that questions America’s cultural and political role in the world. And in the Cabaret, we are undertaking a whole new approach to creating our musical revues with more and more emphasis on ‘story,’ (as evidenced by the wonderful success of Mack The Knife: The Bobby Darin Songbook.) And STAGE III will soon announce another cutting edge season of plays designed to challenge while they put you on the edge of your seat in the intimate Bowne’s Lab Theatre.

And that leads to my favorite quote from Guillaume Apollinaire:
“‘Come to the edge’, he said.
They said: ‘We are afraid.’
‘Come to the edge,’ he said.
They came.
He pushed them, and they flew.”

I hope we fly together. And I hope this season will put you on the edge of your seat.

Keep your fingers crossed.

And enjoy.

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Richard Hopkins
Producing Artistic Director

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