In the process, the theater built a strong reputation, earning consistently strong reviews and attracting some of the area's best-known actors.
But starting with the 2014-15 season, which opens in September,
For the bulk of its seven-play season,
"Libraries aren't just books," said
Balagula will present five out of seven plays this coming season in the library theatre. The other two productions will be presented at the
Balagula will be the exclusive professional theater in the library space, though school and amateur groups will still be able to use the venue.
"The library was a great place for us to go to, because we're so literate, and we look at the word first," said
And while the Balagula directors have enjoyed having their own home at Natasha's -- after all, the place has Williams' first name on it -- the artistic directors said it was time for them to move out into a theatrical space and maybe lay to rest some confusion about
Over the years, the theater progressed from simply presenting plays in the restaurant space to building a stage and providing non-restaurant seating for the theater, eventually becoming a not-for-profit company and presenting complete season of shows. But plays were presented on a Sunday-through-Wednesday schedule because Natasha's is also a music venue, particularly on weekends, and because of that, the company had only rare opportunities to rehearse in the space it performed in. The dimensions of the restaurant also presented challenges in terms of the physical space.
"The restaurant has my name, and it has the theater, and in a way, the theater became more associated with me than it should have been," Williams says. "It is Ryan's as well as it is mine, and other people we are partnered with."
Case and Williams also say this will clarify some confusion, like whether it is a dinner theater, and relieve awkward moments like restaurant patrons showing up and finding the kitchen was closed because a play was being presented. Williams acknowledged the move will also give Natasha's, which is owned by her husband
And the library has a theatrical tenant, which it had wanted since renovation of the theater.
Southerland said, "For us, they're being in here opens a whole lot of new possibilities."
(c)2014 the Lexington Herald-Leader (Lexington, Ky.)
Visit the Lexington Herald-Leader (Lexington, Ky.) at www.kentucky.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services