The Naked Stage Theater Company Is Making Its New Home On Clematis Street
Downtown West Palm has attracted a new cultural venue to its arts and entertainment district.
South Florida theater company The Naked Stage (no, they do not perform naked) closed on a property on Clematis last week, with plans to debut performances in West Palm Beach come the 2016-2017 season.
Although city codes have restricted additional cultural establishments from opening in the area, on Aug. 12, West Palm Beach's Downtown Action Committee recommended the city initiate an amendment to allow non-retail businesses (like a theater) to operate along Clematis Street and Rosemary Avenue.
Owned by Boca residents Katherine and Antonio Amadeo, Naked Stage currently performs at Barry University in Miami Shores. The move to 522 Clematis St. would certainly shorten their commute.
"We know the people in the community, and we're excited to bring our theater home, to be where we are and where we spend most of our time," Katherine Amadeo said.
Of course, Naked Stage won't be the only theater on Clematis; Palm Beach Dramaworks also calls the area home. But Amadeo emphasized the two groups won't be working in competition. Actually, she said, Palm Beach Dramaworks has been a "role model" to Naked Stage.
"We aspire to do work as strong and valid as them, but we're definitely going to differ in our programming," she said.
Naked Stage's work has included contemporary, modern and classic plays—from the August Strindberg classic “Miss Julie” to “A Man Puts on a Play” by Naked Stage’s own Antonio Amadeo—and all are performed with the company's own artistic spin. She said to expect more pieces by contemporary playwrights, as well as up-to-date sound and lighting equipment.
Palm Beach Dramaworks' producing artistic director, William Hayes, agreed that, for the theater community, there is "strength in numbers."
"The more theaters you have, the more theatergoers you will have in that community," he said, adding that he was vocal with city officials about supporting the growth of new cultural institutions in the area.
The City Commission has not yet voted on the amendment, but Amadeo said this change would mean Clematis can actually become a real arts and entertainment district, much like the city has labeled it. If this becomes the case, Amadeo hopes to see people turn their theater-going experience into a night out in the area.
"They can make a full evening of it: go to dinner at a restaurant there, see a show at the theater, then go to a club, or out for coffee or dessert," she said.
Naked Stage will gut the space (formerly antique store Authentic Provence) and transform it into a 145-seat theater, offering an intimate, cinematic environment. The company plans to put on four adult plays per season, as well as two additional family-oriented productions so parents can bring their children.
Once Naked Stage opens up in West Palm, the group's aim will be to figure out how to get the next generation interested in theater.
"There's so many young people out there, in their 20s to 40s, and it's an exciting challenge to figure out how to get them through our doors," she said.