Director of six plays, actor in more than 20, and producer of his own, Sam Richardson is now a founder of his own theater.
The Primitive Studio, located at 618 S. Main St., is the result of Richardson’s intentions to grant Gainesville a fresh take on theater.
The 27-year-old cofounder and UF acting senior came across the space he has now after working at several theaters in the downtown area. Then he took a gamble and signed the lease with his cofounder, Iver Thue. They opened the theater in May along with a third partner, Lisa Demanuel.
According to Richardson, space within The Primitive Studio can be rented for workshops, group rehearsals, seminars and other educational events. Greek life socials and other large events would be well suited for the 3-acre lot that sits behind the theater, Richardson said.
"What we’re really focusing on is shifting that paradigm so that, yeah, I want to bring my brand of theater to Gainesville," Richardson said, "but I want people to discover it as their brand of theater because it’s not the same (as mine)."
The theater, which seats 50 people, will premiere "The Hairy Ape," Richardson’s own play, Friday through Sept. 6. It will be the third show at The Primitive Studio.
In his plays, Richardson said he focuses on avoiding what he calls "deadly" theater, the repetition of cliche shows. He said he wants the audience to think about the show and what’s truly going on.
As a director, Richardson said he gives the actors notes about where to stand and how to act, but he also gives them some leeway. This evokes a rawer feel, rather than a measured and precise one, which Richardson said he can find aggravating.
"I’ve been trying to create a rough theater experience," Richardson said. "When we go down the rough route, we actually have something more visceral. We have something more on-the-edge."
In addition to the style of direction, Richardson worked with Thue to create a type of light effect called projection mapping. This technique emphasizes objects as small as bricks or as large as cars and manipulates them to embellish the stage and serve as another prop.
One of the most important things for Richardson is the branding and image of his theater.
"We want people to not come in and settle into their chairs and think that their phones are a better alternative to the play in front of them," Richardson said. "(We want them) to walk out with three words: ‘What the f**k?’"
Sam Richardson, a 27-year-old UF acting senior, has recently opened The Primitive Studio, where his own production, "The Hairy Ape," will be premiering Friday.