Over the past few years, Spotlighters Theatre has been scouting for a new location, spurred on by the prospect of an end to the lease on its longtime, 65-seat venue on St. Paul Street in December 2019. That search is off for now, thanks to a successful renegotiation of that lease, extending occupancy through October 2022.
The community theater has been based in the lower level of the Mount Vernon Apartments since 1962.
Extending the lease there “allows us the time we need to raise the money … to make a new home possible, while strengthening our organization to accomplish such a move,” Spotlighters artistic/managing director Fuzz Roark said in a statement released Tuesday. He added that “some cosmetic improvements” would be made to the space.
Spotlighters made headlines last year when it won backing from the Baltimore Development Corporation and the Mayor’s Office for creating an $11 million, 21,300-square-foot arts center at the former Read’s Drugstore on the west side of town. Last February, the theater company backed out.
“We jumped ahead of ourselves with the proposal,” Roark told the Sun then, citing an independent feasibility study that “determined that we do not have a large enough public footprint to undertake such an expensive project. That building can’t be used until you spend several million dollars on it.”
The lease renewal will allow time for the theater to plan a capital campaign while keeping an eye on “various properties in and around the city, in hopes of finding one that meets all the needs of the theater and our patrons,” Roark said.