BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Red Mountain Theatre Company will begin work later this year on a new arts campus in downtown Birmingham that they’ve been dreaming of for more than a decade.
The new campus will take up nearly the entire block on 3rd Ave. S between 16th St. and 17th St. where the Wittichen Supply Co. used to sit. It’ll feature a 400-seat theatre, state-of-the-art rehearsal and classroom spaces and administrative and shop offices. It’s a consolidation of all the company’s services in one location. Currently, they’re spread out across the Birmingham area, and workers have to spend much of their time driving back and forth. The new campus will allow them to use that time instead for improving the company’s programming.
It’s a facility that fulfills a vision executive director Keith Cromwell has had since he joined the company 16 years ago.
“And really at that juncture we were thinking: what would it be like, what would the dream look like if we were able to have all of our services consolidated on one location? And that dream’s about to come to reality,” he said.
The new campus will be the latest addition to Birmingham’s Parkside District, which also features Railroad Park and Regions Field. But before either existed, Cromwell believed it could be a special area – one that would make an ideal location for a theatre.
“There were some naysayers that didn’t think that was going to have the impact that it has had,” he said. “And now we can all sit back and look in great glory at how much is happening in that area.”
And with all the people walking through the area, he believes the location will draw more people to the theatre, which can also serve children in the community. Education is a big part of RMTC’s focus. But in the past, they’ve had to spread their programs out all over town. Now they’ll be housed all in one spot.
“And while those assets have been extremely valuable to our journey, we’re going to be able to be able to reach literally thousands of more children in this centralized location,” he said.
Construction crews will begin work on the site this fall. RMTC plans to open the new center in the spring of 2021.