Monday, July 30, 2012

What the H Street Playhouse’s Relocation Really Means to Anacostia’s Future --- [from the guy that brought them here]

Southeast Trinity at 2020 Shannon Place SE for LUMEN8Anacostia
(photo credit: David K. Lee for ARCH Development Corporation)

A lot of people worked very hard to make it possible for H Street Playhouse to come east of the river to Anacostia. One person who worked especially hard in seeing this project through was my friend, co-worker, and fellow blogger Phil Hutinet.  Please read in Phil's own words about the journey to bring Anacostia it's own playhouse and what this milestone means for the community.

Go HERE to read the full article on East City Art.

Relocating the H Street Playhouse to the 2020 Shannon Street SE warehouse was a natural fit. The H Street Playhouse’s presence in Historic Anacostia will provide a world-class black-box theater for both local and regional patrons.   It will also provide a stage for local performers who live and work East of the River including Southeast Trinity, Verbal Gymnastics, the Serenity Players and Melvin Deal and the African Heritage Dancers and Drummers (just to name a few). 

And herein lies the importance of the H Street Playhouse’s relocation.  While many will bring up the specter of “gentrification”, a political charged word that is never properly defined and carries a host of pejorative connotations, the theater’s presence is only one of many factors, like the completion of the new 11th Street bridge, that that will contribute to transforming Historic Anacostia, a process that is already well underway.  Ultimately, the theater will offer a much needed and sought after destination for residents seeking a cultural attraction within walking distance or a short drive from their homes while providing an opportunity to showcase the rich, autochthonous cultural heritage that exists East of the River which is often ignored by other parts of the city and the region. 
Naturally, the theater’s presence in Anacostia will lead to the opening of new restaurants along Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and Good Hope RD SE as investors will see the value of attracting hungry theater goers before and after shows.  The rapid and steady growth of new places to eat on H Street NE began when the H Street Playhouse opened its doors in 2002 and set off a chain reaction of real-estate development.

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