Monday, April 15, 2024

A dream come true: New theater to open with a bang this weekend


VIRGINIA BEACH — The Zeiders American Dream Theater opens here this weekend in conjunction with the Proteus Festival in Town Center.

The nonprofit Zeiders Theater, also known as “The Z,” is 17,000-square-foot facility with a 309-seat main theater and a 120-seat black box studio theater.

The Z describes itself on its website as a theater with “intimate performance spaces and unique programming that generates an exciting connection between the performer and the audience.”

During Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Mike Zeiders, founder of The Z, spoke about the upcoming festival and grand opening.

“We wanted to convey right out of the block that we’re an active part of the community and that the programs are not just concerts — there’s going to be workshops and also creative teams in the areas of theater, film and also music,” Zeiders said.

The festival will not be contained in The Z — Regal Cinemasthe Sandler Center, and the Westin Hotel will all host events as part of the three-day event.

Highlights of the festival include performances by The Hunts and Billy Mercury on Friday, as well as the premier of this year’s Experimental Film VA entries.

Kishi Bashi, a violinist who is a Norfolk-native and has performed on David Letterman, will headline the festival with a performance on the Zeiders main stage Saturday at 8 p.m.

Related story: A ‘modern’ salon is slated for Town Center

The Z has been operating in a temporary space in Town Center since October 2015 that has been partially subsidized by grant money from the City of Virginia Beach, according to multiple city budgets from 2015 through 2018.

However, construction of the new theater was paid entirely with private funds, according to their website.

The new theater is part of a public-private complex that includes retail stores, a restaurant, apartments, a public plaza, and a bridge to a free public parking garage, according to an executive summary of the city’s 2018-2019 budget.

Some performances are ticketed, and there are more details available on the Proteus Festival lineup

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