The Firehouse Theatre Project has just joined Richmond Triangle Players in the gift-of-space club. Barbara and Roy Sutton have donated the Engine Company No. 10 building at 1609 W. Broad St. to the Firehouse, giving the group ownership of its longtime performance space. It's the second Richmond theater group in the last month to receive a gift of space. Next fall the Richmond Triangle Players, performing in three different locations this year, will move into a more permanent home at the former Carl's Radiator building in Scott's Addition, which a generous patron purchased with the intent of signing the theater group to a long-term lease. As for the Firehouse, the Suttons have stepped in as patrons before. “In 1998 the Firehouse was experiencing its darkest period” says Harry Kollatz, co-founder of the theater company. The city, which previously owned the property, gave the struggling theater company 90 days to raise $80,000 to buy the building or get out. Things looked grim. “People were coming in during production meetings to measure the floor space,” Kollatz says. “It was like measuring me for my coffin.” The Suttons heard the plea for help and purchased the building, allowing the Firehouse Theatre to use the space. When asked about the benefits of owning the building, the theater's board president, Ty Toepke, says owning the building affords the group the ability to control its destiny: “What we invest in the space from now on is an investment in our company's future.”
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