Dogtown is a newly renovated dance space located in Richmond, Virginia. The building is nestled within the Manchester residential and commercial, historic district on the south side of the James River.
Located at 109 West 15th Street, the former Bainbridge Junior High School Gymnasium was built in 1939. Just as sports and recreation once were the principal activity on this site; dance, performance, and community outreach comprise the essential purpose of this beautifully refurbished facility.
Dogtown's dance theatre is located on the second level of the building and offers a flexible 35 by 30 foot stage (including the wings) and seating for up to 100 audience members. The space can also accommodate large events such as weddings, with a max of 200 occupants (without the theatre set up). The third floor offers studio/rehearsal space and the lower level offers a full dressing room for performers.
As a flexible mid-sized facility with a kitchen, Dogtown Dance Theatre is available to the public to rent for special events. Affordable space for small businesses with a primary focus on (but not limited to) performing arts, community outreach, or socially responsible, progressive business practices is available for lease on the first level. Parking is available on adjacent seats and the nearby parking lots.
The Bainbridge Gymnasium was purchased in 2005 and the transformation of the building into the Dogtown Dance Theatre began, in earnest, in January 2008. The scope of the work included replacing the entire electrical, climate control, and plumbing systems, replacing all the glass windows with laminated glass to address sound concerns, installation of an elevator to the mezzanine, and incorporating handicap accessible bathrooms.
Much of the building’s original integrity has been preserved. Though some sections of the gym floor were replaced due to water damage, the majority is the original maple hardwood.
The terrazzo floors in the lobby and halls are original. The vast majority of the ceramic bricks on the walls are intact, with the exception of additional doors to provide handicap access to bathrooms and the third floor studio space.
A marquee has been added to the front of the building, which was designed to work with the style of the building as well as transform it from a gymnasium into a theatre. Much credit is given to Watershed Architects, who helped design the theatre to provide as much versatility as possible with minimal additions to the building. This construction allows it to maintain its original beauty while providing necessary amenities to run a performing arts theatre and host special events.
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Theatre space in standard set-up
Theatre space fully open