Crown Jewel of Sarasota Bay
A true pioneer in the cultural development of Sarasota, the Van Wezel, (pronounced Van Wayzull), presents a broad spectrum of the world's finest performers representing the diverse tastes of Southwest Florida residents and visitors. This season, with more than 100 events, the Van Wezel has carried on the long tradition of presenting spectacular Broadway musicals, top national and international performers, popular comedians, world-class symphony orchestras and a compelling mix of classical, modern and ethnic dance. The Van Wezel also hosts more than 50 performances and events presented by the Sarasota Orchestra, Sarasota Ballet, the Sarasota Concert Association and the Ringling Library Town Hall Lecture Series.
In carrying out the mission of the Hall, the Van Wezel's education program brings visiting artists into the community and area schools for a wealth of educational and outreach activities. Each season more than 25,000 students from Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and Desoto counties are introduced to the performing arts through Van Wezel Schooltime Performances. And through our partnership with the Sarasota County School Board and the John F. Kennedy Center Partners in Education program, hundreds of local classroom teachers participate in professional development workshops, learning to teach in, through and about the arts.
To present a broad spectrum of the world's finest performing artists in order to meet the diverse cultural needs of all of Southwest Florida's residents and visitors.
To bring visiting artists into the community for meaningful education and outreach programs that help develop new audiences.
To provide a quality home for other local cultural organizations that present their programs here.
The Van Wezel is owned and operated by the City of Sarasota. The Hall contains 80,000 square feet, including Roskamp Auditorium and its state-of-the-art stage house, lighting, and sound system. There are also two lobbies, the Grand Foyer with a fully-equipped professional catering kitchen, the Selby Education Center, and administrative offices.
Backstage the theater is supported by 9 dressing rooms, 2 large chorus dressing rooms, a Green Room and catering kitchen for cast and crew meals, production and technical offices, an orchestra pit that, thanks to a large seat wagon, doubles as the first three rows of auditorium seating, and storage for the Hall's three grand pianos and stage equipment.
The 6,000 square foot Grand Foyer comfortably seats 35-350, and opens onto the Sunset Terrace and Bayfront lawn accommodating an additional 1500. The adjacent Founders Lounge is a popular gathering place for performance sponsors and Van Wezel Foundation donors.