In August, Seth Kubursky raised concerns about rumors that Orlando's Theatre Downtown might be booted from the space on Orange Avenue that it has called home for the past 25 years. The theater's landlord, Florida Hospital, the rumor indicated, had plans for the building and had given the theater notice that it would have to move out. At the time, Theatre Downtown's founding members, Aaron Babcock and Frank and Fran Hilgenberg, did not have any comment on the murmurings.
Today, however, they confirm that the story is true: Florida Hospital has exercised its rights to terminate the theater's lease, effective Dec. 31. The theater will continue its current season – and, fortunately, the Hilgenbergs have been able to negotiate a one-month extension with the hospital so they can still stage their final show in the space, A Christmas Carol, which has been a seasonal tradition for the theater for the past 14 years – but this will be its final one in the Orange Avenue building.
What's to become of the space that has been an operational theater for the past 25 years? We're not sure yet, but Theatre Downtown's announcement indicates that some of the options being discussed include turning it into an "innovation lab," or even simply demolishing the structure.
Frank Hilgenberg says that although the theater is being forced to vacate, this won't be the end of the company – watch the video below for his take on what the future may hold for Theatre Downtown.
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at email@example.com.
Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.