First show at Venice Theater since Hurricane Ian draws enthusiastic crowds

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VENICE, Fla. (WFLA) — The Venice Theater has opened for its first show since Hurricane Ian devastated the main stage. However, there is still a long way to go to get back to normal.

The main stage is still destroyed, but work has been done to convert the Center Raymond space into a smaller theater for the time being. The Venice Theater’s director of marketing and public relations, Laurie Colton, said they had to get creative.

“It took a lot of hard work, and it just took determination and hope to be able to say, we’re going to do this, even if it happened, we’re still going to be able to entertain our community,” Colton said. said. “We are pleased.”

It’s not only an exciting night for theater people, but also a positive sign for business owners and the community.

The general manager says the theater draws around 100,000 visitors a year to the city centre.

Kay Kropac owns Cafe Venice around the corner. She says not only the theater has taken a big hit, but also the restaurant business.

“Since the theater closed, we haven’t seen so much business,” Kropac said. “We get a lot of our business from theatre.”

But she knows they’ll slowly get these people back.

“It’s a win-win situation for everyone, because it just helps make Venice a better place to live,” Kropac said.

“There’s been a lot of talk about how we got destroyed and we couldn’t be here, and that’s not the case at all,” Colton said.

The aim is to rebuild and reopen the main stage in January 2024, but they are cleaning up a second theater in the main building which they hope to be ready to open early next year.

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