Our History


Where are we today?

Stageworks is led by its new Producing Artistic Director, Karla Hartley; an eight member Board; 2 full-time staff, six part-time staff; 168 artists and over 100 volunteers. We serve approximately 20,000 audience members annually.

National & International Tours

A Conversation with Georgia O’Keefe toured Edinburgh Theatre Festival Fringe 1991, Hong Kong Theatre Festival 1992 and seven states. The Shaman’s Dream was performed at the Edinburgh Theatre Festival 1992 and toured four states. Zora Neale Hurston toured Florida 1995-1996, Molly Sweeney in 1997-1998, A Conversation with Georgia O’Keefe in 1999, Roarin’ Judy in 2000-2001 and African American Greats 1994-present.


Can Theatre Change the World?

Art Changes People and People Change the World

From howlround.com: Anne Kauffman, director: “This is my theory. I don’t think theatre can change the world. I think theatre is a necessary part of our culture’s ecosystem. It’s not about necessarily changing the world. It’s about a very, very important part of our culture. If you take that away, then the culture fails. So I think it’s something more deeply profound than changing the world. It’s a part of the world.” Joshua Bergasse, choreographer: “When I go to see theatre, when I leave, I’m a different person. Hopefully, I’ve learned something about myself and about other people. I think that good storytelling is the way that human beings grow.” Brian d’Arcy James, actor: “I think it’s something we’ve been breathing in since the beginning of time, since cavemen started telling stories around fires. In the more immediate sense of things, I think theatre is important not only in making small changes, in terms of how they feel about their day, but on a more socio-political level it has had a great effect. Hamilton is a great example of a show that changes how we view what this country is. It changes the dialogue about who owns this country, and how we’ve come to be, and where we are. That is a piece of theatre that helped us redefine who we are.” Terrence McNally, playwright: “Theatre changes the heart, then it changes the mind, and that makes people get off their asses and do something. I’m a great believer in theatre as a socially-active force. If The Visit doesn’t make people think differently about how they’re living their lives, then we have failed badly. An American play—Death of A Salesman. How many middle class Americans were forced to examine their values after seeing that play? I remember as a little boy how much it affected my mother and father. It still can do it. Angels in America certainly affected people. Yes, theatre can be entertaining. I like to laugh too. But I also like to be made to think and question and challenge. And when theatre does that, and entertains you, that’s the best.”

2012 – Present

Anna Brennen

Stageworks opened its new home in the summer of 2012, in the exciting Channel District. Many thanks to the good folk at Grand Central, who kindly lease the space to us for $10 a year.

2005 – 2008

Produced shows at The Gorilla Theatre.

2003 – 2012

The Shimber Playhouse

Stageworks performed at The Straz Center for the Performing Arts, Shimberg Playhouse.

1999 – 2002

Hillsborough Community College Ybor City

Stageworks was the Professional Theatre-In-Residence at Hillsborough Community College Ybor.

1992 – 1999

University of Tampa

Stageworks served as the University of Tampa’s professional Theatre-In-Residence at The Historic Falk Theatre.

1987 – 1991

Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center Jaeb Theatre

Stageworks moved to the new Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center’s Jaeb Theatre.

1984

Ybor City Italian Club

Stageworks’ first Mainstage Season opened in Ybor City’s Italian Club with an original multi-racial cabaret.

1983

Anna Brennen

In October, founding Producing Artistic Director Anna Brennen directed Stageworks’ first production, A Couple of White Chicks Standing Around Talking, in a historic Ybor City storefront.