NAPLES

Call for a Recall – The Naples Players are leading a massive home expansion project at the Sugden Community Theater.

At a time when the Neapolitan theater is slowly making a comeback, what makes our community an anomaly?

In a week, The Naples Players is launching their next show, “A gentleman’s guide to love and murder.

We spoke to Executive Artistic Director Bryce Alexander. He said they do nine big productions a year. And for years, the community-run theater has sold out.

This is one of the reasons they are ready to grow.

“The main theater that currently exists has a balcony; that adds 150 seats, ”explained Alexander. “The smaller theater, the Price Studio Theater, is undergoing a complete renovation, and then the third theater will be added.”

Educational theater is important because The Naples Players works with many different program partners and nonprofits.

They offer wellness programs, such as improvisation classes, to people with Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. And another class for students with special needs – programs they kept virtually alive during the pandemic.

The new design also includes a sensory room for the disabled and “pay what you can” seats.

Alexander said: “Someone within two weeks of a performance date can call up and say, ‘Are there paid seats for what you can sit on? “, and the box office will let you pay any price.”

But this renovation project is costing $ 15 million at a time when the performing arts are once again trying to raise the curtain.

How does community theater prosper?

Alexander says it’s simple. The theater wore a lot of hats during the pandemic, “We use the costume store to sew thousands of masks for local food banks for NCH.”

And they built intubation boxes for NCH’s infectious disease department.

He never expected his costume designers to turn into mask makers, but the arts once again brought value to the community.

The Naples Players can operate thanks to 700 volunteers each year, of which 150 are local artists.

You can read more about Bryce Alexander and the future of the Napoli players in this month’s issue of Gulfshore Life.