Theater nonprofit relocates to smaller quarters in Pawtucket
RICARDO PITTS-WILEY, above right, confirmed Monday that the Mixed Magic Theatre will move out of its space at Hope Artiste Village, which it can no longer afford. Also pictured, from left, interns Alex Salazar and Trent Robinson Lee.
PAWTUCKET – The Mixed Magic Theatre is moving to a smaller space in the Lorraine Mills Artist Studios complex after nearly three years at Hope Artiste Village.
Development Director Ricardo Pitts-Wiley confirmed Monday following a morning email blast that while the nonprofit is growing, it cannot afford the approximately 5,000-square-foot space in the village at 999 Main St., which recently was the subject of a scheduled increase in the five-year lease signed in March 2011. The space at 560 Mineral Spring Ave. in the Lorraine Mills complex is about 3,500 square feet, he said.
“We had to move quickly so as not to delay the season,” he explained. “We were experiencing growth, but this is as much a reflection of the stagnant Rhode Island economy as it is of our efforts to remain a viable arts organization in the state.”
Both Pitts-Wiley and Michael Gazdacko, director of development and operations at Hope Artiste Village, characterized the separation as amicable.
“We are extraordinarily appreciative of them stepping up to the plate when we needed the space,” Pitts-Wiley said of Hope Artiste Village, “and we will continue to support the businesses [there] and hope they will support Mixed Magic.”
“We couldn’t figure out how to divide the space to keep them here in space they could afford,” added Gazdacko. “We want them to move forward and succeed, and we wish it was here, but they can’t seem to make it work here, so we wish them the best of luck.”
Founded in 2000 by Ricardo and Bernadet Pitts-Wiley, and operated by Artistic Director Jonathan Pitts-Wiley, the nonprofit strives to “bring diverse stories and images to the stage through prose and song, tackling well-known dramatics as well as original theatrical productions,” according to its website.
Rehearsals and certain business operations will continue in the Hope Artiste Village space for a few more weeks, but move-in and development at Lorraine Mills is expected to start as early as this week, according to the email.
Shows on tap include “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Isn’t Enough,” opening Feb. 21, and “God of Carnage,” opening in April.
Gazdacko said Hope Artiste Village, which has more than 100 tenants, has begun to market the space Mixed Magic is vacating “so we can get a new tenant in as soon as possible.”