RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — On Oct. 11, the Virginia Repertory Theatre acquired the Scottish Rite Temple and will use the new space to house its children’s theater, according to an announcement on Wednesday.

The children’s theater, which will be named the Virginia Rep Center for Arts and Education, will host kids’ theater productions, educational touring programs, camps, classes and workshops, a release from the Virginia Rep read.

Purchased for $3.5 million, the building, which is located at 4202 Hermitage Road in Richmond’s Hermitage Road Historic District, features three separate performance areas — a 650-seat main auditorium, as well as two smaller studio stages. The Virginia Rep’s release said these rehearsal spaces will allow room for annual tour productions that reach more than 400,000 people across the country and provide the capacity to double the number of camps, classes and workshops currently offered.

Photo courtesy of the Virginia Repertory Theatre

The new building offers schools and families a secure drop-off and pick-up area, a large well-lit parking lot with 230 spaces, and the facility is also accessible by public transit through GRTC buses, according to the Virginia Rep, which will include a reserve of about $1.5 million for the new building as part of Phase 1 of the Great Stages Campaign.

The release from the Virginia Rep revealed that the first show at the new children’s theater will be ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’ — just in time for the holidays — and that more details regarding show dates and times will be announced soon. The new facility will also serve as the future permanent home for Gospel Nativity, a newly established annual holiday partnership with Virginia Union University.

“Virginia Rep is arguably among the top five children’s theatres in the nation in terms of scope of programming, geographic reach, and audience size, but our facilities have not been on par with this distinction until now,” Virginia Rep’s Managing Director Phil Whiteway said. “After leaving our rented space at Willow Lawn during COVID and months of careful planning and due diligence, this investment will allow us to create a new path for the future of Virginia Rep’s children’s, families, and schools programming, which represents about 50% of our total operation.”