In Williamsburg, Virginia, a vibrant cultural community but a shortage of large performance venues

Posted on: August 18, 2021

In photo, Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra gives a streamed performance at Williamsburg Community Chapel led by David Grandis.

“Many stakeholders in Greater Williamsburg’s performing arts community lament the lack of large venues for live entertainment,” writes Ben Swanson in Friday’s (8/13) Virginia Gazette (Williamsburg, VA). “Phi Beta Kappa Memorial Hall at William & Mary is currently out of commission while it undergoes a $138.8 million renovation… Virginia Regional Ballet [relocated its] annual performance of ‘The Nutcracker’ … to Ferguson Center for the Arts in Newport News, [which] has twice the seating capacity of PBK Memorial Hall and ample room for an orchestra pit, both important assets…. Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra was fortunate to secure space at … Williamsburg Community Chapel [in 2021-22]…. Some local arts organizations use midsized venues, but … popular demand without sufficient capacity means that organizations have to put on the same performance multiple times. ‘When you have two performances, it costs more,’ Executive Director Carolyn Keurajian said.… Virginia Symphony Orchestra, based in Norfolk, has been performing in Williamsburg for more than three decades…. ‘A larger indoor venue dedicated to musical performance … would be transformational for the community and a catalyst for arts activity and the related economic impact,’ said President and CEO Karen Philion.”