The Palladium Theater in St. Petersburg has launched a $10 million fundraising campaign. Its plans include full renovations for the main theater and the Side Door cabaret.
Groundbreaking is expected to begin in the summer of 2025 and to be completed in 2026, which will be the building’s 100th anniversary.
The Hough Family Foundation has pledged to contribute $5 million as a challenge grant to encourage other gifts to the campaign. The Hough family was instrumental in the creation of the theater, which celebrated its 25th anniversary on Wednesday.
In a news release, foundation president Susan Hough Henry invited supporters to contribute to the campaign, which will “prepare the Palladium for another century of outstanding performances.”
The focal point of the expansion is a reconfiguration of the 800-seat main theater, which would get all new seating. It’s the theater’s first update since opening. It will be renovated to improve sight lines and acoustics. The theater is consulting with Earl Swenson Associates, Akustics and Stages Consulting, all of which have worked on prestigious performing arts centers across the country.
The downstairs Side Door cabaret space, where music and comedy performances happen, will also get a refresh.
Built as First Church of Christ, Scientist, the cornerstone of the building was established in 1925. In 1998, the building was sold to the Palladium Theater founders, who renovated it while preserving the historic interior.
In 2007, the founders gave it to St. Petersburg College, with the stipulation that it continue its mission as “the community’s professional and affordable venue.”
The theater is a resource for students of the school’s music production and engineering programs. The theater also provides them internship opportunities and experience in the music industry.
It also provides performance space for local music, dance and theater companies, including services like staging, lighting, box office and social media support.
“Donations are investments that will strengthen our role as an incubator for performing artists while at the same time preserving our history and strengthening our legacy,” executive director Paul Wilborn said. “When the St. Pete Opera needed a performance space, we were there for them. When the Chamber Players, the Nutcracker Ballet, Beacon Dance, La Lucha jazz, and hundreds of bands and performers needed a stage, we were there for them. Soon we will showcase them in a world-class performance space equipped for recording and livestreaming.”
The capital campaign will raise funds from private and public sources. Naming opportunities are available. For more information, visit transformthepalladium.com.