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JRT expands to adjacent building

Patrons of the Jonesborough Repertory Theatre will soon have a new place to wait before a performance and to relax in afterward.
The JRT’s new space, The Stage Door, opens this week in conjunction with the first performance of “Shrek, the Musical” on Thursday, Aug. 22.
“We have been wanting a larger space for a box office and an area for our patrons to wait for a long time,” said Jennifer Schmidt, artistic director for the JRT.
The opportunity to offer ticket holders that place to wait presented itself, she said, when Dr. Charles Allen made the JRT “an offer we couldn’t refuse, to utilize some of the space in a building located next to the JRT.
“We worked out an agreement with him where he has his office upstairs and we have the space downstairs,” she added. “Now we have a place where we can serve refreshments and sell merchandise. The main room of the building is just perfect for that.”
The Stage Door, located at 125 W. Main St., allows patrons to enter the box office at the front of the building, pick up refreshments and souvenirs, then exit out a back door that opens right into the front of the theater.
“Now they don’t have to line up down the alley,” Schmidt said. “They won’t have to squeeze into a tight space or wait outside in bad weather.”
Utilizing the space for a box office and refreshment center is just one way the JRT plans to use the new facility.
“It will also give us room for extra rehearsal space as we prepare for a performance,” Schmidt said. “After a play, people can come in and drink coffee, meet the actors and listen to music. Since there is nothing much open after hours, we want this to be a nice, relaxed space to be.”
In the future, Schmidt said the JRT may consider getting a wine license and serving drinks and desserts.
Schmidt has already moved her office into the building.
“Our supporters, Friends of the JRT, have been wonderful,” Schmidt said. “They’ve donated furniture, lamps and tables so that we can make this an inviting place.”
There are still needs, however. Schmidt said the JRT is still looking for someone to donate a stove and a mud sink or a free-standing sink.
The décor will include pictures and memorabilia from JRT performances. Guests can purchase soft drinks, bottled water and, of course, popcorn.
“This has really opened up some new opportunities for us,” Schmidt said, “and it will be so nice to be able to provide a wonderful place for our patrons.”