The Naples Players prepare for start of theater renovations

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The Naples Players’ Sugden Community Theatre in the heart of downtown Naples carries a long history and distinct identity, but it’s about to undergo an expensive overhaul.

“It’s been a staple of downtown Naples for the last 25 years, and we’re excited to build the future of the next 50 years in downtown,” said Bryce Alexander, CEO and artistic executive director of the company.

Alexander is excited about the $20 million renovation starting Monday, and he’s not the only one.

“The Naples Players has for the last five years been planning to renovate, create a new space, in this original space of the theater that was built in 1998,” said Peggy Monson, president of The Naples Players’ board of directors.

Guests spent the night before the renovations starting the project for the builders, hitting the wall as hard as they could.

“We had a good time; I got to hit it a few times, so it was really cool,” said Mia Sturzen, performer and theatergoer. “It was fun to put your name on it.”

Mia and her parents live in Naples. They say the theater plays a huge role in Mia’s life.

“It’s important to bring it into your child’s life. And especially hers because she wants to be an actress, and all of that is very important,” said Andrea Sturzen, Mia’s mom.

“It’ll allow more people to see it in the main theater, but then also other spaces where people can experience you know, improv and educational classes,” said John Melleky, Collier County Arts and Culture manager.

“That’s what we’re about. The Naples Players is about building community through exceptional access to the power of theater,” Monson said,

The renovated facility will feature a large balcony, a new educational theatre and a café. It is scheduled to be finished in March 2024.

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