The Studio Acting Conservatory is ready for its next step: Founder Joy Zinoman yesterday announced that they have purchased a church on Holmead Place in Columbia Heights, which will become the school’s new home after it’s renovated. For the time being, it will temporarily relocate to the now-defunct Shaw Middle School at Garnett-Patterson. Its permanent home is set to open next year. The new building was acquired following a $1.5 million gift from local philanthropists Dan and Gloria Logan.
Zinoman founded the conservatory in 1975 and Studio Theatre grew from it. Now the theater is planning to expand and renovate its space, and last June, artistic director David Muse informed Zinoman that the conservatory would not be included in the Studio Theatre’s next phase. In February, those plans were finalized and Zinoman announced the split, expressing frustration with the decision to ax the acting school. “It’s been horrible,” says Zinoman. “We didn’t have a couple of years to figure it out or prepare.”
Despite the changes, Zinoman is optimistic about the move to Columbia Heights. “We hope to be part of that community and help grow the community like I did in Logan Circle 40 years ago,” she says. “Fourteenth Street has radically changed. In a way, moving to Columbia Heights feels better to me. It has the right feeling—it’s diverse and it’s alive and it’s not overly gentrified.” With GALA Hispanic Theatre and the Dance Institute of Washington nearby, Zinoman believes “we can create a real arts district.”