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By Nadezhda Chayka Otterstad–
New life is coming to Sunrise Mall amid plans to redevelop the nearly 100-acre property, as a children’s performance and visual arts nonprofit announced this month it has signed a three-year lease for an 8,200-square-foot space inside the mall.
Grand opening of Royal Stage Performing and Visual Arts is slated to take place in July inside the mall, next door to men’s Macy’s, according to Executive Director Tamara Warta. The news was recently announced at a gala dinner held to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the nonprofit, which was supposed to be held in 2020 but pandemic restrictions bumped up the date of the dinner to this year.
The nonprofit offers various classes and summer camps to train students in dance, theater, tech and art. A minimum of eight performances are also typically put on each year.
The new headquarters will see the group’s space expand significantly, with the organization previously setting up shop in a smaller studio space in Roseville. Plans are underway for a 200-seat blackbox theater with a lobby, stage, dance studio and a concessions area.
“Previously we’ve skipped from homes to churches,” said Warta. “It took us eight years to find the perfect space.”
The nonprofit plans to kick off with a production of Aladdin this summer at the new location.
Royal Stage was established in 2010 with a mission to offer “safe, encouraging classes and camps” for both boys and girls. Classes are open to all youth, but the organization operates as a Christian nonprofit with all teachers being “Bible-believing Christians trained to teach in their genre professionally and lovingly toward all faiths and backgrounds,” according to its website, www.royalstage.org.
The announcement comes amid plans for redevelopment of the declining Sunrise Mall property. A plan approved by the city to guide redevelopment of the mall property is expected to take 20 years to be completed, with development likely first occurring in the unused outer parking areas.
City leaders have stressed that the existing mall is expected to remain open for many years and have encouraged shoppers to meanwhile patronize businesses there.
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