"The most amazing, life-altering, eye-opening, practice-evolving, friendliest
and generous of gifts"
- Margaret Stewart, Photographer

Every symphony you hear, every play you see, every dance you experience every painting and sculpture you see, and every book you read, begins its life with a person in a room with an idea and a passion. The Hermitage provides the room for accomplished creators in a spectacular, inspiring environment. Our artists bring their brilliant ideas. Together, with nature, we feed the passion, and we share it all with our community. This is the work of the Hermitage.


Do not miss your chance to be among the first to see the free workshop showings of Descent, a new music theater piece being created by two Hermitage fellows and a NYC creative team who are staying at the Hermitage during the workshop process.

The workshops are Monday, November 24th at 7:00 pm and Wednesday, November 26th at 2:00 in the Sailor Circus arena, 2075 Bahia Vista Street, Sarasota. The public is invited to experience this work-in-progress and then to stay to give feedback, which might be helpful in further development. Please be advised that the play includes adult material and is for mature audiences. Reservations for the free workshops are requested and can be made online at https://www.artful.ly/store/events/4690.

Descent takes place on the beach of an uninhabited island in the Pacific Ocean and in the memory of a celebrity pilot waiting to die as she recalls the days before her final flight. As she wards off the advances of her alcoholic navigator, her conscience is split between her loyal husband/manager and her newly found burlesque dancer lover. Driven by shame and the need to maintain her celebrity, she follows her husband's ambitions, shuns her lover and crashes on an impossible flight when she realizes she cannot be with the woman who sets her free.

Composer and 2009 Greenfield Prize winner Eve Beglarian and producer/actor Ruthie Stephens have returned with a cast to work on the project that they began at the Hermitage this past May.

In addition to lyricists and composers Beglarian (2009 Greenfield Prize winner) and Phil Kline, the creative team includes book writer and actor PJ Griffith, director Liz Carlson and sound designer M. Florian Staab. The cast includes Ruthie Stephens (seen last season in FST's Too Darn Hot), Vanessa Dunleavy, Rye Mullis, and PJ Griffith.

"With The Circus Arts Conservatory providing a place to rehearse and perform and the Hermitage Artist Retreat providing a place to live, our two organizations are collaborating to help the creators of Descent develop their new music theater piece,” said Bruce Rodgers, Executive Director of the Hermitage Artist Retreat. Since one of the show's characters is a burlesque-style aerialist, and portions of the work take place "in the air," collaboration with the Circus Arts Conservatory was a natural. Descent is an intriguing and challenging blend of the art of the theater and the art of the circus."


We are proud to share our talented people with those in the region through our community programs. Check our calendar and blog for up-to-date information on Hermitage news and events. Interested in volunteering? Our Friends of the Hermitage organization offers many excellent opportunities.