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Arts & Culture

Stage Aurora Theatrical Co. Moving Into Ritz Theatre & Museum

Ryan Griffis via Flickr

Jacksonville’s Stage Aurora Theatrical Company is getting a new home at downtown’s Ritz Theatre & Museum.

Stage Aurora started 16 years ago to feature the African-American experience and give performers of color a venue. About eight years ago, it moved into a converted men’s clothing store in the Northside’s Gateway Mall. But last year, an ownership change forced the company out of its space.

Stage Aurora founder Darryl Reuben Hall says the Ritz contacted him with the offer to use its stage.

“It was everything that I wanted. It’s a very nice facility. They’re very supportive, and also it’s central to the city of Jacksonville; it’s in downtown Jacksonville,” he says. "So everybody knows where the Ritz is, the history of the Ritz Theatre itself. And I’m glad to be there."

The Ritz’s chief mission is to preserve African-American artistic culture.

As a winner of a Spark Grant from the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville, Stage Aurora has been performing at temporary venues around Northeast Florida since its eviction. On Thursday, June 16, it's  staging the musical “Harlem of the South” at The Volstead bar and lounge, and again at the Jacksonville Public Library on Sunday.

Hall says his first show at the Ritz will likely be “Dreamgirls,” tentatively set to open Thanksgiving weekend. The details of the agreement are still in the works, but he says he’s agreed to use the Ritz’s unionized tech crew for his shows. 

Photo used under Creative Commons license.