Arts preview: Franklinton Playhouse debuts this weekend

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Michael Herring knew he wanted to make a new home for his theater company in Franklinton.

Already thriving in the visual arts, the neighborhood was ripe for the addition of a new, dedicated space for theater.

"They've cultivated a vibrant visual arts scene, so Franklinton was a natural for a performing arts space," Herring said. "It's great to be inaugurating a brand new space here."

Red Herring Productions had been at home in the Riffe Center's Studio theaters, but the busy venues offered limited available dates and were ill-suited for Red Herring's intimate productions.

"We needed to be able to control our own destiny," Herring said.

If by control his own destiny, Herring meant transform a vacant makeshift gallery and storage space into a black box theater, then he got exactly what he wanted. Franklinton Board of Trade Executive Director Trent Smith put Herring in touch with Ethical Arts Collective's Connie De Jong, who was looking to sublet space at her West Rich Street location.

"This is a concept that makes sense," Smith said of having a live theater at home in Franklinton. "It could spur different types of development, and bring different audiences to the spaces we already have here."

With financial support from the Greater Columbus Arts Council, Red Herring has been up to the task of physically transforming the space. The next step is artistic, and begins with a production of Samuel Beckett's "Endgame."

"'Endgame' is a way to demonstrate artistic quality and also a dedication to the community," Herring said.

He said he hopes the Playhouse serves not only as home for Red Herring Productions but also as an "incubator for other companies." He also said his company is already committed to working with students at neighborhood schools.

Red Herring Productions' "Endgame"

Franklinton Playhouse

566 W. Rich St., Franklinton

May 5 through May 29