Runaway Stage has moved another step closer to realizing its goal of building its own theater in West Sacramento. The popular musical-centric community theater company has signed a lease for the new space and hopes to open the building, the RSP Center for Performing Arts, by July.
Pushing the project forward is a $10,000 donation from the Armrod Charitable Foundation of Roseville, which will also match up to $140,000 in donations received through June.
The new theater will be built inside an existing warehouse at 1540 S. River Road and include a 250-seat performance space, a lounge-style lobby, new sound and lighting systems, and a concessions area. Perhaps even more important for longtime producing artistic director Bob Baxter is that Runway can consolidate all of its theater-making components in one location.
“The front portion of the building is already developed with offices and an area we’ll use for our lobby,” Baxter said. “There’s a large warehouse, and that’s where we’re going to be putting in the theater itself, the rehearsal spaces, the set shop and the storage of sets, props and costumes. And a costume shop will be put in there, too.”
Baxter said the city of West Sacramento has been extremely supportive throughout the permitting processes for the theater.
Runaway has a yearly budget of almost $220,000 and produces 18 major productions a year – six each from its Broadway Stage, Storybook Theatre and Youth Workshop series. Even with that level of activity, there may be times when the theater could be rented out by other groups.
The budget for the project is “approximately $300,000,” which will be met by the $140,000 match from Armrod and $140,000 Runaway raises on its own. It has raised $25,000 towards the goal so far.
Baxter said he feels the theater is relocating to a prime location at just the right time. A proposed Broadway bridge could bring Sacramento traffic right to the theater’s doorstep, and other development in the area seems likely.
“The landlord is working with other groups to possibly put a brew house in the back half of the building behind where we are,” he said.
Baxter wants to open the space this summer.
“It’s going to be quick; it’s going to be tight. It’s on us to raise the funds over the next couple of months to get going on the building,” he said.
“We may have to start bare bones, but hopefully in July,” he added.