Venice Theatre Never Dies

Venice Theatre Destroyed by Hurricane Ian

Venice+Theatre+shown+destroyed+after+Hurricane+Ian.

Venice Theatre shown destroyed after Hurricane Ian.

     As you all know, Hurricane Ian came through Southwest Florida and hit like a ton of bricks. For many people, this hurricane destroyed so much. For me, a part of me was crushed when I woke up and saw what had happened to the historic Venice Theatre. 

     Venice Theatre belongs to the heart of many. Currently, Venice Theatre is the second largest community theatre in the nation. It is home to so many memories and a host to several lovely shows, it is overall a wonderful community that has held strong for over 70 years. When Ian hit Venice Theatre, the back wall was ripped from the building. In the process, the main stage (Jervey Theatre) was fully waterlogged as well as parts of the backstage area. Additionally, the fly loft, which houses the fly’s or pieces of set coming from the ceiling, was ripped to pieces due to the missing wall.  

      Workers from Venice Theatre saw the image circulating on the web showing their beloved workplace in ruins. When workers visited the theatre Thursday morning after the hurricane, they were all distraught by what they saw, their second home barely recognizable. Everyone had felt they had gotten a huge punch in the gut until someone pointed out that the chandelier from The Revolutionist (the play that was currently playing in the Jervey Theatre) was still hanging. When it was pointed out, a wave of understanding came to everyone present that morning. The chandelier was hung by the residential lighting designer, and it showed that even through the 100+ mph winds, it still hung on and that’s what they had to do, hang on. 

     By that weekend, Venice Theatre had a walk through with contractors and they had some behind the scenes work on figuring out how to help the rebuilding process start as soon as physically possible.  

     Many people in the Venice community started figuring out ways to help the Theatre. Some people started making donations directly to the theatre, including people from other countries, while others volunteered to clean up the area where debris flew everywhere. Surrounding businesses offered to let shows and rehearsals take place in their buildings until the theatre was usable.  

     One notable action was from a Venice Theatre student, performer, and volunteer Delaney Lockwood. Delaney set up a stand selling things like lemonade, candies, and other pre-packaged snacks in Venice to raise money for the theatre. In a 3-hour period, Delaney raised a whopping $700 given directly to the theatre.  

     Currently, Venice Theatre is closed and the start to the new theatre has already begun. If you are wondering, you can help too. Executive director Murray Chase said that even with good insurance, the rebuilding process still needs several million dollars. If you would like to, you can donate to Venice Theatre at venicetheatre.org/donate. So, if you are capable, help would be highly appreciated.