Hugh Copeland, founder and longtime artistic director of Hurrah Players, wants to get one thing straight: His theater group is not going anywhere.
The stately white Greek-style building on St. Paul’s Boulevard in Norfolk, the main home for the Hurrah Players since 2010, will remain the company’s headquarters. Before that, Hurrah Players occupied a former warehouse on 21st Street.
But the building under renovation in the NEON (New Energy of Norfolk) District on Wilson Avenue is part of an ambitious expansion of the Hurrah brand. It was mostly made possible by the Patricia and Douglas Perry Foundation, a longtime financial supporter of Hurrah.
“They supplied the funds and theater to this building we’re in now,” Copeland says. “With their blessing, we’re transferring it to the arts district, which is better because we can have different types of entertainment, not just musicals.”
The amount from the Perry Foundation is undisclosed, but it’s generous enough to fund the total renovation of a 12,000-square-foot space built in 1907. It will be multipurpose, seating 180 people, with two classrooms, a rehearsal studio and a permanent space for scenery and prop design. The space also will host Hurrah-related receptions.
The renovation will be complete in the fall, Copeland says. But already plans are under way to boost the profile of Hurrah Players in the NEON District before renovation wraps up. The theater group plans to erect a stage outside the new building for performances during the Fringe Festival in April. The four-day outdoor program of shows, produced in partnership with the Virginia Arts Festival, will be among the first events on the blossoming block that includes Work | Release, Push Comedy Club and the Glass Wheel Studio.