Why "Dangerous" Theatre?
It's a dangerous proposition to make a living in theatre. Especially if you are doing it like Winnie Wenglewick. She is the driving force behind Dangerous Theatre. Her theatre is primarily a selfish endeavour. She does it because she can. Winnie has no formal education in theatre. None. Nada. Zip. She has learned by doing. Her theatre is unlike most other small theatres. She runs the whole thing herself as a for profit venture (not that there is much profit). She is too bossy a bitch to deal with a board and does not want to have to define what kind of theatre she produces. She produces whatever interests her. Since opening Denver's Dangerous Theatre in August 2007 she has produced plays about homeless people, middle aged sex, facing death, kinky sex, talking penises, greed, perceived demons, existential eating establishments, naked apes, an embezzling dentist. Santa has been killed, shot, and committed for being a raving lunatic. She does not have grants, do fundraisers or ask for donations. She survives by selling tickets and putting butts in seats. She also pays her actors a split of the house. Always. She also pays her playwrights. Always. She focuses on producing unpublished plays and works directly with the playwright. She had directed the majority of the productions. She has acted in many and even written a few.
Why open a 2nd theatre in Sanford, Florida?
Winnie started her theatrical career in Orlando, Florida in 1991 by volunteering at SAK Comedy Lab. Soon she was on staff. Then she became involved in the Orlando Fringe Theatre Festival and worked with them for 10 years. It was through Fringe that she developed a love for small intimate theatre. She opened her first theatre space in 1998; Performance Space Orlando. She closed that space in 2000 to move to Denver, CO for family reasons. She soon discovered the amazing theatre community in Denver. She started producing sketch comedy shows and Extreme Playwright Adventures in rented venues under the name Dangerous Theatre. In 2006 friends asked if she would take over their business. At first she said no, but then realized she could put a theatre in the same space. So in August 2007 Denver's Dangerous Theatre opened. Since then it has shared the space with another business, which she also runs. It is a perfect relationship because the other business pays for the overhead for the space, allowing Winnie to produce the plays she wants and pay her actors. It is not the most conventional business plan, but it has worked so far. So why open another location in Florida??? Well, as few years ago, as Winnie was slowly sliding into middle age, she realized how much she really hated snow and cold weather in general. The mountains are stunningly beautiful in Denver, but are no comparison to the ocean and the beach. So in 2014 she brought Black Stockings to the Orlando Fringe and started reconnecting with the theatre community. In 2015 she directed Dark Wood and wrote/performed her solo show Deviant Behaviors.
Winnie returned to Orlando in August 2015 and started scoping out locations to expand her brand of Dangerous Theatre. She thought she found a space on Edgewater Drive near Fairbanks but ultimately decided parking would be an issue and abandoned that option. This turned out to be for the best as in February 2016 her mother fell ill and passed away unexpectedly. She then spent the next 6 months dealing with all that goes along with losing a parent. In September 2016 she was back on track looking for another theatre space. She mentioned to a friend that she needed to find office space to use while she was planning her new space. Frankie Messina with Apartment E had just the spot for her. There was a really neat space available in Historic Downtown Sanford, on E. 1st St, on the 2nd floor above Washburn Imports and the Imperial Bar. It was big enough to hold rehearsals in and have meetings and the price was right. So she took it! Almost immediately, Winnie fell in love with Sanford. She was told about an empty space down the block that used to house a theatre. Originally she dismissed the space as it was much too large. Then, on Labor Day Weekend, she walked by it and read the sign in the window about the historical legacy of the space. It was built in 1901 and for the majority of its 100+ years it was a stage theatre or movie theatre. Most recently it was the Princess Theatre. Soon, it will be the home of Dangerous Theatre Sanford.
What about the Denver location?
The lease for the Denver space is secure until Octiber 2020. Not much has gone on in the past year or so while Winnie moved and handled estate stuff for her mother. She plans to overhaul the Denver Location as she plans for the Sanford opening. The hope is to have similar programming between the two venues.
Will the Sanford, FL location be like Denver's space?
Yes and no. Winnie really does like small intimate venues for her productions. The Sanford space is nearly 5000 sf, too large for her vision of an intimate space. It is not financially viable to have a 50 seat theatre in a space that large. Her solution is to build TWO separate theatre spaces in the venue so more than one show can run at the same time. One venue will be set like Denver's - a black box cabaret style space with tables and chairs that will seat between 40 - 50. The other will be a more traditional theatre space with a proscenium stage and seating for up to 50. Construction on the Sanford location will not start until January 2017. Winnie plans to have the Grand Opening in March 2017. However, she was able to get permission to use the space as is, prior to build out, in December 2016 to offer a preview production of The Perfect Gift.