Booker Visual Performing Arts Theatre

Sarasota County Schools

Emma Booker’s legacy as a trailblazer for educational transformation is evident in the renovations of this intimate community theater, preserving the character and tradition of the school’s illustrious history. Like a precious gemstone forged under pressure, the theater acts as a prism, dispersing and directing light throughout the community as a testament to its commitment to fostering students’ artistic aspirations.

The project offers substantial benefits to both the school and the surrounding community. The new theater provides students with space that exceeds standards and encourages artistic growth. State-of-the-art facilities empower students to showcase their talents at the highest level. The renovated theater serves as a cultural centerpiece for the greater community, inviting engagement with the arts, at a local and national level. The improved accessibility of the theater ensures that a broader audience can experience and appreciate the performances of the Booker High School VPA program.
The public lobby is zoned for flexibility to accommodate several events, including a small rehearsal area, pre- and post-show catering, as well as a versatile gallery to support the school’s visual art program.
The upgraded and technologically advanced space not only reflects the value on the arts within the school but also emphasizes the broader impact of arts education on personal development, community engagement, and cultural enrichment. The project includes the upgrade of the existing theatre, increasing the capacity, improving acoustics and lighting, and elevating the patron experience through refined finishes and premier box seating. The student lobby is accessed through a secure and internal courtyard while the community lobby faces outward towards the main public thoroughfare. Supporting programs include a new box office, black box theater, and arts related classrooms.
“The design leverages the existing theater as a historically significant place to educate students and provides an artistic destination for performers, students, and the community locally and nationwide. We have endeavored to create an environment for starlust performances that spotlight the various art forms.”
Ekta P. Desai, AIA, Partner / Design Lead