Hello again Tampa Bay-philes, Reju here ! This past Friday, I had the pleasure of taking a tour of the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center (TBPAC) in Downtown Tampa.The center has ranked with some of the best theater venues in the world and the expertise of their team shows before you even step in.
Walking around the center you're sure to get in the mood for theater with soundtracks, matched with the current showing, playing in the background all around the center. There are also a number of brand spanking new flat screen monitors displaying up-to date info on current and upcoming shows, and other general information.
Turn a corner facing the east bank of the Hillsborough River and you'll find a quaint riverwalk, and maybe even a joyous crowd waiting to catch the some of the free open-air showings. Adjacent to the outdoor stage, you'll find seating and dining at Maestro's Cafe(outdoors), or restaurant (indoors), overlooking the river and downtown tampa. Visually and aesthetically, there's a great feel for culture and a very inviting ambiance here.
The TBPAC was opened twenty years ago, and four years ago was joined by the Patel Conservatory, which educates and trains students of all ages in many artistic disciplines including dance, music, theater, and even media arts. The Performing Arts Center has five distinct theaters, ranging from big name, broadway show calibre stages with opulent seating, lighting, and entertainment, to cozy, stages catering to a much smaller audience showcasing more experimental theater. The effect of this variety is that weather your a performer or part of the audience, you feel that there's a theater to fit any show, and a show to fit any audience. Three of the theaters even have infrared listening systems for the hearing impaired.
It's a shame that I hadn't visited this place sooner, and really look forward to going there again to catch an actual show. I even asked about participating in one of the experimental plays, but unfortunately for me, this is not community theater and I have a long ways to go before I can even consider, being considered. What experience do I have in acting you ask? Well, I was one of the seven dwarfs in my elementary school "Snow White" play, and distinctly remember having the coolest/creepiest looking 'walking stick'/tree branch.
So if you're in Tampa, and have not seen the TBPAC, I gurantee you it's worth the visit any day, especially if you have friends or a significant other/'s, you can take along. It's quiet something to watch a play, and when you watch a good one, you'll know why theater stood the test of time.