The new group, which officially announced on Facebook on August 16, is called Commerce Street Theater.
“When the Renaissance board of directors made the decision to relocate, we just thought, ‘We’re not ready to let this space disappear. We want this to continue, and that was the only way we could think of doing it, ”said Bill Bodine, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Commerce Street Theater Company.
Tom and Pamela Nowell, two founding members of the Renaissance Theater Company, helped lead the movement. Bodine, a 20-year veteran of the Renaissance Theater Company where he usually worked as an actor, followed the Nowells in an effort to keep Commerce Street entertained.
The Nowells said they have been contacted by many spectators concerned about the news of the Renaissance Theater Company’s move and have received a lot of support from them as Commerce Street Theater gets under way. Nostalgia abounds for many as both audience members and attendees, the Nowells said, and they are happy to have the chance to continue in their traditional location.
A seven-person steering committee met earlier this month to create a council and discuss steps to move forward.
Commerce Street Theater has applied for 501 (c) (3) status as a nonprofit and will operate as a community theater group, Bodine said. Members of the new group hope to expand beyond plays.