5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota, FL 34243
Features: Guided tours
Payment options: Credit cards accepted
Food available: Yes
More in this neighborhood: Sarasota
The Historic Asolo Theater was the original home of the Asolo Theatre Festival. It was built as a palace playhouse in Asolo, Italy, in 1798 to honor the 15th-century exiled Queen Catherine Cornaro of Cyprus. In the late 1940s it was dismantled and moved to the John and Mable Ringling Museum. The theater company eventually outgrew the space and moved into a new facility in 1990. Renowned for its spectacular collection of Baroque painting, the original theater was restored in 2006 and is now part of the Ringling Museum Visitors Pavilion. It sits inside the Cà d’Zan Gatehouse on the Ringling museum estate and hosts a variety of music and dance performances, film screenings and lectures. Outside of performances, general admission to the estate includes the Historic Asolo Theater.
The Asolo Repertory Theatre performs in the FSU Center for the Performing Arts, primarily in the Mertz Theatre. The teaching FSU/Asolo Conservatory uses the more intimate 161-seat Cook Theatre for most of its performances. Both groups plan to occasionally perform in the Historic Asolo Theater.
In 2006, the Asolo Theatre Company was renamed Asolo Repertory Theatre. In 2000, the Florida Legislature transferred the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art to Florida State University. It also created the Florida State University Ringling Center for the Cultural Arts which includes: the Ringling museum, Ca' d'Zan (the former Ringling residence), the Ringling Museum of the Circus, Florida State University/Sarasota Dance and the Florida State University Center for the Performing Arts, which is adjacent to the Ringling property.