Arts & Entertainment and Small Business & Startups

Frustration prompts new theater space

June 26, 2014
| By Pat Evans |
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Frustration prompts new theater space
Ambrosia Theater seats up to 70 for performances. Photo via fb.com

For more than three years, Sarah Mayne had rented space in which to hold recitals for her classes from BellyDanceGR.

Eventually, that became too much.

“I’ve rented just about everywhere in Grand Rapids,” Mayne said, including Dog Story Theater, six or seven Polish halls and even school auditoriums. “It is tough finding space in Grand Rapids.”

Mayne teaches a variety of classes at her business, mostly adult alternative fitness classes, and once a quarter she hosts a recital for the students to demonstrate their new moves. Those classes often need open, yet intimate spaces, which Mayne found tough to locate in the city.

A few months ago, Mayne looked at a space in the Blackport Building — where her business is located at 959 Lake Drive — for a friend. Instead, she fell in love.

“I said, ‘Oh my gosh, I want this,’” Mayne said, with an initial desire to move her business. Then two spaces became available.

“I never had intentions to open a theater, but we had put it all together in about six weeks,” she said.

This month, Ambrosia Theater opened up to two sold-out nights.

“Everything went off without a hitch,” she said. “The guests all enjoyed the space and I couldn’t be more pleased.”

Mayne will have first dibs on the theater, which will only be a half-dozen times per year. Other than that, the space is available for rental. Theater groups have already begun to use the facility for rehearsals and Mayne has some shows lined up for 2015.

Rental prices will depend on how long the event will take up the space, with packages that run monthly, weekly, weekends, nightly and hourly. Mayne said there will be deeply discounted rates for day usage.

The space includes a professional stage/riser setup that allows for a variety of arrangements. The venue can seat 70 people with standing room for 99.

“This is a very versatile space,” Mayne said.

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