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Some children's shows move to the Barksdale

Why the change? The reasons are both simple and complicated.

One simple one is that the Glen Allen center raised the rent. "We loved being there," says Theatre IV's Artistic Director, Bruce Miller, "but when the rent went up, producing shows there was no longer financially feasible for us." (Theatre IV and the center are still negotiating the possibility of staging nonsubscription shows at the 355-seat Glen Allen center.)

More complex reasons have to do with the company's market research.

"We know there is a percentage of our audience that prefers to see shows in smaller spaces," Miller explains. So the 207-seat Barksdale will host Theatre IV's smaller productions: "Jungle Book," opening this week, and next February's "Sarah Plain and Tall." The Barksdale stage — where the audience surrounds the action on three sides — will make for a more intimate theater experience.

Theatre IV stages its big productions at the opulent Empire Theatre downtown and continues to look for ways to draw people to these "event" shows, like the holiday favorite "A Christmas Carol" and next spring's "Suessical: The Musical." On-site security is already in place, and the company is looking at valet parking.

"There is a perception about what it's like to come downtown that is completely different from reality," says Miller. "But we have to be sensitive to perceptions. If there's a family that misses one of these big shows because they think parking is difficult, that's a real shame." S



"The Jungle Book" opens Theatre IV's "Broadway for Families" series at the Barksdale on Oct. 8. For details, call 344-8040.



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