A 200-seat theater that will feature two established local adult and youth drama companies broke ground on Red Branch Road in Columbia on Thursday.
The theater is a partnership between the , an educational and professional youth drama company, and its sister group, the Red Branch Theatre Company, a semi-professional drama company.
Both groups currently share a 120-seat theater and learning space at 9130-I Red Branch Road in Columbia.
The new facility will feature a 200 seat arch-ceilinged theater, a large lobby and reception area, according to an article on Baltimore Broadway World.
Tiffany Underwood Holmes, managing director of Red Branch Theatre, said the new facility will also have two huge rehearsal studios, more office space and additional backroom and greenroom space.
“It’s really, really wonderful to have outgrown our current location,” said Holmes. “We’re booming; we have multiple things going on every single day of the week.”
Stephanie Williams, owner and artistic director of the Drama Learning Center, said the new theater arose thanks to support from individuals, families, area businesses and the entire community, according to the article.
Williams said the new facility “will enable Drama Learning Center and Red Branch Theatre Company to offer even more classes and theatrical productions in the future,” according to the article.
Howard County Executive Ken Ulman lent his hand to the groundbreaking ceremony by smashing a hammer into a piece of drywall. The new theater is scheduled to be finished later this year, according to Holmes.
“We’re shooting for fall/ winter of 2012,” said Holmes.
She said the new space would also be rented out for recitals and corporate events.
Drama Learning Center has been active for more than 20 years, teaching drama to young children, honing the skills of teen actors and offering acting classes to all ages.
Red Branch Theatre started in 2008 and offers four to five shows of semi-professional performances per season. This year’s upcoming shows include Avenue Q and Bunnicula in October and Pinocchio in December.
Holmes said the groundbreaking was great.
“I’m from Columbia, Stephanie is from Columbia,” said Holmes. “We’re both really committed to Howard County and we think it’s a great place to live and work. We’ve really found our base here.”