Meredith Dropkin

The Players Theatre Makes Landmark Announcement

Move to Schroeder Manatee Ranch in Lakewood Ranch
will Expand Operations and Support Growth

the players centerSarasota, Florida – May 3,  2016 - The Players Theatre, the oldest community theatre in Sarasota and second oldest in Florida, is proud to announce the plans to sell their existing building and property and move east of I-75 in Sarasota County to be the Arts and Entertainment piece in the new Schroeder Manatee Ranch’s Waterside Development in Lakewood Ranch. In an exclusive, invitation-only event held at Michael’s Wine Cellar on May 2, 2016 – sponsored by The Wilde Automotive Family, Wilde Insurance Services and Grapevine Communications – The Players Managing Director Michelle Bianchi Pingel and Artistic Director Jeffery Kin unveiled a complete rebrand for the theatre, the future move and the launch of a major $25 million capital campaign.

“We are very excited about the opportunity Schroeder Manatee Ranch is providing to us,” said Bianchi Pingel. “This project has been in the works for over a year and will position the theatre for continued growth and sustainability for the next 100 years. We have outgrown our existing facility in regards to both audience capacity and in our aspirations to provide a wealth of beneficial programs. This opportunity is directly aligned with our mission to continue growing – and it makes sense.”

The new Players Centre for Performing Arts is slated to include a 480-seat main stage auditorium with balcony seating, a 125-seat black box theatre, a 100-seat cabaret stage with food service, and the main campus for the Arnold Simonsen Players Studio, the education arm of the organization. The Players recently announced the relocation of their performing arts school slated to open March 2017 in the new Rosemary Square development in the City of Sarasota. As part of The Players strategic plan, the Rosemary Square school location will become a satellite location once the new theatre campus is built out east.

“From an artistic standpoint, the new campus is very exciting,” said Kin. “This is our opportunity to produce multiple shows at once, attract new patrons and students to the area, and better accommodate our future needs. There will be ample parking for audiences and additional space for our growing performing arts studio.”

In true Players theatrical style, the announcement at Michael’s Wine Cellar was presented in a chess piece “Game-Changing” theme to board members, community leaders and an assorted group of theatre patrons and enthusiasts. Both the rebrand and future move were announced as “chess moves” followed by the launch of the $25 million capital campaign as “checkmate.” Half of the funds needed for this project will come from the sale of the existing property. The other half will come from naming opportunities of the new facility and through the generosity of donors and sponsors. Three generous sponsors immediately stepped up to fund the announcement event: The Wilde Automotive Family, Wilde Insurance Services and Grapevine Communications.

“We are proud to sponsor The Players Centre for Performing Arts and share their exciting news. Community involvement with the arts has always been a vital part of the Wilde Automotive Family’s core values and mission and that of our customers,” said Mark Wilde, president, Wilde Automotive Family. “Wilde recognizes the importance of the arts to the economy and character of Sarasota and is proud to support our community by maintaining substantial partnerships with the arts and cultural organizations throughout the year.” 

For more information, visit or call 941.365.2494.

About The Players Theatre
The Players Theatre, a 501(c)3 non-profit, is Sarasota’s first and oldest performing arts organization – and the second oldest in Florida. Opened in 1930, The Players Theatre has been built on the inspiration and aspirations of the incredible talent in the area. The Players presents a diverse and entertaining slate of high quality, volunteer-driven theatrical experiences that educate, stimulate, and enrich the entire community.About The Wilde Automotive Family

The Wilde Automotive Family is a local, family-owned and operated business now celebrating their 70th anniversary. The Wilde Automotive Family has grown to include 13 dealerships in Florida and Wisconsin. In Sarasota, the Wilde Automotive Family’s enterprise includes Wilde Honda; Wilde Lexus of Sarasota; Wilde Jaguar of Sarasota; Wilde Maserati; and Wilde Bodyworx, Sarasota’s premier auto body and detail shop.

Wilde Insurance Services is a full-service independent insurance agency offering Auto, Homeowners, Health & Business Insurance. Having relationships with dozens of top-rated insurance companies, Wilde Insurance Services can help their customers obtain the right insurance products to fit their budget. As an independent insurance agency, they can offer the right coverages with the personal touch one would expect from a neighborhood insurance agency.

About Grapevine Communications
Grapevine Communications provides full-service advertising, marketing and public relations services to clients nationwide. The firm is the most award-winning advertising agency in Sarasota, Florida, and the surrounding areas. Recent accolades include the 2015 Greater Good Philanthropy Award – Small Business by Biz(941) Magazine, the 2014 Small Business of the Year by the Manatee Chamber of Commerce; the 2016, 2015 & 2014 Best Marketing/PR Agency by SRQ Magazine readers; and the 2010 Small Business of the Year by the Sarasota Chamber of Commerce.


Photos attached: Download
Photo credit: Cliff Roles Photography
Artistic Director Jeffery Kin and Managing Director Michelle Bianchi Pingel

Logos attached:
The Players Centre for Performing Arts
The Wilde Automotive Family
Wilde Insurance Services
Grapevine Communications Advertising Agency

Grapevine Communications provides full-service advertising, marketing and public relations services to clients nationwide. The firm is the most award-winning advertising agency in Sarasota, Florida, and the surrounding areas. For more information on Grapevine Communications, contact Shaunna Norris ( at 941-351-0024 or visit the website at