After several years without a stage to call its own, a local acting troupe has landed in downtown Hopewell.
Box 5 Cabaret Theatre at 212 E. Broadway will be christened with its first performance Friday. The new venue is operated by theater company The Phantom Players.
Tracey Lynn Frame, who owns The Phantom Players and is the theater’s house manager, said the 2,000-square-foot former thrift store provides a cozy home base for the actors as well as a space that will be open for other acts to perform. The venue has tables and seating for 75 people.
“It’s a cabaret with an almost comedy club-type feel. It’s a very intimate space, it’s not Radio City Music Hall by any means,” Frame said.
The theater’s name is a reference to “Phantom of the Opera,” Box 5 being the Phantom’s private seating chamber to take in performances.
Box 5’s first production will be “Little Shop of Horrors,” which will run Feb. 4-6.
Frame also plans to rent the space to other acts, open-mic nights, comedians and others in need of a performance venue. Frame is also the artistic director for the Chesterfield Children’s Theatre, which will also use the space.
The nearly 8-year-old theater company has been without a permanent home since 2016, when it vacated a space in downtown Petersburg. In between the venues in Petersburg and Hopewell, the company hopped around area schools for its performances.
Frame said that the interest in a permanent venue was spurred by a desire to simplify the logistics of performances in different locations, as well as a changing local theater scene caused by operational restrictions and higher rental rates due to the pandemic.
“We decided we wanted to go back into a more permanent space,” she said. “What venues were available were charging an arm and a leg.”
The Phantom Players ended up in the Box 5 space with the help of Heather Lyne of The Hopewell Downtown Partnership. The group leases the space from local landlord Bobby Brown.
“(Lyne) was very instrumental in going around and introducing me to different people who owned the buildings to see what one would be the best fit,” Frame said.