NAPLES — Attendance has grown yearly for shows performed by Gulfshore Playhouse in the Norris Community Center at Cambier Park in Naples.
Now, Kristen Coury, CEO and president of Gulfshore Players, wants to see what can be done to accommodate the additional guests in the space.
"We've gone from two shows to three to four shows a season," Coury said. "Next year will be six shows. We actually do have to turn people away."
The theater group is expected to go before the Naples City Council, now scheduled for May 14, to discuss possible solutions for expanding or adding new seating to the theater, which also has a stage at the Norris center.
Gulfshore Playhouse rents the multipurpose room in the center and can fit 200 stacking chairs in the audience during shows. When they aren't performing or practicing, other city groups use the space for children's summer programs and community meetings or rehearsal space for other performers.
Dave Lykins, community services director for Naples, said theater groups with this number of shows and turnout typically seat between 300 and 350 people.
"It's really not a performance space," Lykins said of the auditorium. "It's a very basic, four-walled room with a stage that doesn't have adequate acoustics, an adequate sound system, adequate lighting, or adequate 'fill in the blank.'"
Gulfshore Playhouse has performed at the Norris Center for five years. Before that, the organization had no permanent space, but performed in theaters throughout Collier and Lee counties.
"We want to see what are the options to continue the partnership," Lykins said.
While no formal proposal has been sent to the city, Mayor John Sorey said he supports the arts in Naples and its effect on businesses in the area and wants to see a solution that works for everyone in the equation.
"The stage is tight and we really don't use that outdoor stage (in Cambier Park) so maybe that could be accomplished without too much impact," Sorey said. "They could sell more seats."