ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Aux Dog Theatre isn’t thinking St. Bernard size, but it is fast becoming a bigger dog on the block.
Aux Dog has expanded into an adjacent building on Monte Vista NE that had been a used clothing store. The expansion is adding one-third to the size of its total theater space.
Renovations to that new space began in November.
“It’s been a slow process up to this point. … But we’re making a push to complete the renovations on the main floor of the new space and get it up and running immediately,” said Victoria Liberatori, the Aux Dog’s producing artistic director.
The Aux Dog wants to make the space available as soon as possible for rehearsals, performances, classes, and meetings.
“In fact, we’ve already had rehearsals there for a couple of upcoming shows,” Liberatori said.
Liberatori said the new added-on black box will be called the Aux Bo and the entire area encompassing the present theater and the new space will eventually carry the name of the Aux Dog Performing Arts Space, she said.
“(The new space) is going to be extremely flexible seating once we get to that stage of the renovation. We could use folding chairs or put cushions on the floor. So it’s going to be highly adjustable,” she said. “It’s an attractive, large, open space perfect for staging rehearsals.”
The current Aux Dog Theatre will be the mainstage and will maintain its current 90 seats.
“I feel we want to do certain types of theater there – contemporary plays or original plays. Having a space of that size gives us a lot of artistic flexibility. And also I think the audience enjoys the intimacy of the Aux Dog Theatre,” Liberatori said.
“It’s a welcoming, cocoonlike space. I think the actors like it, too. They like the contact with the audience.”
The demand for more rehearsal and performing space is driven in part by the increase in the number of the Aux Dog’s resident companies. They include the Aux Dog Theatre Company, which does about nine productions a year.
The Dolls do at least four shows a year at Aux Dog, Rocky Horror New Mexico performs monthly, Dance Exposé is a new Aux Dog resident company and there are hopes that an improv-comedy sketch group will reside there as well, she said.
Renovations include expanding a dressing room, more space for properties and costumes, more office space and new exterior signage, Liberatori said.
The refinishing of the floating wood floor in the new space is already completed, she added.
The Aux Dog has raised $3,800 and is trying to raise another $3,200 to complete the renovations by Jan. 15, Liberatori said. Anyone interested in contributing can hit the “Donate” button on the website auxdog.com or call 254-7716 and leave a message for Liberatori or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Liberatori thanked IATSE 480, the local film workers’ union, for painting interior and exterior walls.
“To save money on renovations we’re trying to recycle materials. We’re trying to be very, very green,” she said.
Aux Dog was opened about seven years ago by founder Eli Browning. Liberatori said Browning invited her to come to Albuquerque in August 2011. She directed a play at Aux Dog and soon after was named its artistic director. About 15 months later, Liberatori said, she became the producing artistic director.
“I think we have really proven that we are an integral part of the Albuquerque theater scene. We were chosen (in 2013) by Albuquerque the Magazine as one of the top five places to see theater in Albuquerque,” she said.
“We are proud and grateful to be listed in the top five. … I think we have really provided a great deal of very diverse programming this year.”