The Richmond Triangle Players opens its 17th season in October, and its alternative-lifestyle mission is joined by an alternative location and an alternative managing director.
The company, which focuses on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues, has found a new location — Altamont Avenue in the Scott's Addition neighborhood. Last season the players were on the road, staging shows at such places as the Gay Community Center of Richmond and the now-defunct Toad's Place. Its home the previous 15 seasons was Fieldens Cabaret Theatre on Broad Street.
Meanwhile, Michael Gooding, one of the company's founding members, is stepping down. Philip Crosby, a former board president with 25 years of nonprofit management experience, has become the new managing director. Gooding isn't quite ready to retire though; he'll take the role of board treasurer.
Crosby says the company is excited about the move, especially after being on the road last season, where installing scenery in borrowed space — whether music venue or church — was not always possible, and costs rose because of the need to rent space and hire more employees to set up and break down sets. “It was tough,” Crosby says. “We did it to sort of journey to the new theater.”
After 18 months of planning and renovating, the theater's ready to open its doors Oct. 7 with a stage twice the size of the one at Fieldens, reserved seating and a bar with refreshments and light food services.
With an improved facility, Gooding is confident about the knowledge Crosby can bring to Richmond Triangle Players. Crosby previously served as marketing director for Cleveland's Great Lakes Theater Festival, director of revenue for the Richmond Ballet and development director for TheatreVirginia. He says he's had his eye on the position for quite a while, too. “I sort of always envisioned myself as ‘That’ll be the job I end up with when Mike wants to retire,'” Crosby says. “It happened to work out.”
As destiny had it, Gooding had been looking to retire for the last couple of years. And a grant from the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation helped underwrite Crosby's salary for the first year; the approval of other board members made the change possible. “[Crosby] was there and available,” Gooding says. “Managing director had become a full-time job. It was part time for many years. With developing a new building, more plays and a broader profile as a community, there's a lot to do. I wanted someone else to tend to a lot of those details.”
Crosby's tasks include working on donations and ticket sales and, of course, using new social media strategies, such as Twitter and Facebook, to increase awareness about the company and its shows.
Even in times of economic uncertainty, Crosby says he's confident he can increase the company's revenue. “I think we've got be conscious of what people can afford,” he says. “[We have to] encourage people with pricing to come more, not less.” S
The Richmond Triangle Players opens Oct. 7 at its new location, 1300 Altamont Ave. Subscriptions tickets went on sale July 1 to current subscribers and go on sale in late July to the general public. Individual tickets go on sale four weeks prior to each opening night. Visit www.richmondtriangleplayers.com.