Blue Star begins the search for The Venue’s new home as Ivanhoe shopping complex nears completion

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Central Florida entertainer and local business owner Blue Star announced Jan. 21 that she is looking to relocate The Venue, a theater space in Orlando’s Ivanhoe Village, after more than six years at its current location at 511 Virginia Drive.

The Venue’s location was part of a multi-acre purchase by Colliers International in 2015. The area is the future site for The Yard at Ivanhoe—a 31,000 square feet living, dining and retail space expected to open in fall 2019.

“After having discussions with The Yard and having discussions with the city and my investors, we are not building in the space that was going to be designated for us,” Star says. “We are actively looking for a new space and it has to be spectacular and special like The Venue’s current location is.”

When The Yard project was initially announced, it was stated that The Venue would be provided a new space in the same area.

“The Yard worked very closely with us to make sure we were taken care of,” Star says. “It’s just the amount of money it would take monthly for me to run that venue at The Yard, I just wouldn’t be able to do that.”

While it seems a deal could not be reached between The Venue and The Yard, Star says the relationship between the two is still a good one.

“I want to stress that the relationship that The Venue has with The Yard is a very good one and is very strong. They have treated us very well, I support The Yard 100 percent,” she says.

The Venue, which opened in Sept. 2012, helped to revitalize the area and make it an up-and-coming neighborhood in Orlando.

“We made such great noise when we got to Ivanhoe Village because when we got there nobody was really there. I don’t want to discount like Savoy and stuff like that, but as far as on that row , Santiago’s was being built and Jason [Lambert] hadn’t gotten The Hammered Lamb yet, so we were kind of just on our own, us and The Hideaway,” Star says. “We are still trying to figure out how The Yard and The Venue can work it out, but unfortunately because of the popularity of this area now I have basically kicked myself out of my own neighborhood.”

While Star originally launched The Venue to have a space for her own shows, in the years since it opened it has become a home to the Central Florida burlesque community, a safe place for new artists to build their art and a catchall venue for LGBTQ organizations to hold events.

“It’s just an honor and it’s one of the most humbling and rewarding things to see people testing their limits, taking risks and pushing boundaries for the sake of art and healing themselves through art,” Star says.”It really has become that safe place, and I mean that in a plethora of ways, but I never imagined the family that The Venue would build over the years. I’m so grateful for that.”

The Venue will close at that location in Sept. 2019, nearly seven years to the day from when it opened. In the meantime, Star says she is actively looking for a new home for The Venue.

“[Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer] has been good to me and he loves The Venue, so we have been around and around thinking about interesting buildings that need rehab. That is essentially what I would like to have, a building that is important to the community [to] revitalize it. Is that an option? I hope so. I’m putting it out in the universe,” Star says.

Regardless of where The Venue will relocate, the main focus is raising enough money to make it happen. Star is still in the early stages of planning but will announce details soon.

“We will probably start a fundraising campaign in February,” Star says. “I’m not sure of the source we will be using yet. Should we go 501(c)(3)? We are just trying to figure out the best route and then [we will be] marching forward.”

Watch the Facebook Live video below.

Photo from The Venue Orlando’s Facebook page.

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