• Press Release

Virginia Arts Festival Announces New Performance Venue in Norfolk, The VAF Bank Street Stage

Opening Spring 2021!



Words and Image courtesy of Virginia Arts Festival.


Virginia Arts Festival has announced that it will debut a flexible new performance venue in spring 2021. Located at the corner of Bank Street and East Charlotte Street in Norfolk, the outdoor venue can accommodate live performances and events and meet COVID-19 restrictions, including social-distanced seating.


“Arts patrons are hungry for performances, and artists are eager to perform,” said Virginia Arts Festival Perry Artistic Director Robert W. Cross. “We continue to innovate and imagine performance spaces that are suited not just to the current pandemic conditions, but for the future as well.”


The new space, dubbed the Virginia Arts Festival Bank Street Stage, is located across East Charlotte Street from Chrysler Hall and Scope Arena, in the heart of Norfolk’s arts district. Patrons accustomed to attending concerts, ballet, and theatre at Chrysler Hall and events of all kinds at Scope Arena will be familiar with the area. The Bank Street Stage is adjacent to the Charlotte Street Garage (Bank Street entrance) and steps away from Norfolk’s restaurants along Granby Street and the NEON District, making it the perfect attraction for entertainment lovers.


Virginia Arts Festival plans to open the new performance space in April 2021, with the CDC’s COVID-19 protocols in place, including social distanced seating, mask requirements, and hand sanitizer stations. Working with the City of Norfolk and its economic development entities, including Visit Norfolk, the Downtown Norfolk Council, and SevenVenues, the Festival has created a space that will attract new and repeat visitors to Norfolk.

“Performing arts remain critical to the success of our city and brings energy to Norfolk,” says Mayor Kenneth Cooper Alexander. “The pandemic has presented challenges to our ability to host live events, and this has negatively impacted our restaurants, shops, and hotels. We are excited about the debut of Bank Street Stage. It will not only present performers and entertainment seekers with a safe venue, but will also aid in the gradual return of our vibrant performing arts scene.”


Because of the Festival’s longstanding partnerships with the region’s arts organizations, including the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Virginia Opera, Virginia Stage Company, Norfolk State University Theatre Company, Old Dominion University’s performing arts program, The Governors School for the Arts, the Bay Youth Orchestras of Virginia, Feldman Chamber Music Society, and more, patrons can expect to see performances of all kinds in the new tent space. Already in the planning process are such productions as:

  • August Wilson’s play How I Learned What I Learned, co-produced by Virginia Stage Company, Norfolk State University Theatre Company, and the Festival

  • Leonard Bernstein’s one-act opera Trouble in Tahiti, a Virginia Opera, Virginia Symphony Orchestra, and Virginia Arts Festival co-production

  • "A Musical Tribute to Aretha Franklin & Whitney Houston" co-produced by Norfolk State University Theatre Company and the Festival

  • A jazz series featuring Hampton Roads favorites including Jae Sinnett, Allen Farnham, Terry Burrell, Jimmy Masters, and John Toomey

  • Zakir Hussain and Masters of Percussion

  • Chamber Music Series

  • North Shore Point Downtown

The space will also be used for rehearsals and performances by the Governor’s School for the Arts and Bay Youth Orchestras of Virginia.


“It’s a flexible venue, suitable for many different kinds and sizes of events,” said the Festival’s Robert Cross. “It will serve a need in the artistic community, offer a welcoming, safe new space for arts lovers, and bring life back to Norfolk and the region in ways that larger indoor venues cannot do under current circumstances.

Virginia Arts Festival will release performance date and ticket details soon. Watch the Festival’s website vafest.org for more information and keep up with VAF on social media @VaArtsFest.


About the Virginia Arts Festival Since 1997, the Virginia Arts Festival has transformed the cultural scene in southeastern Virginia, presenting great performers from around the world to local audiences and making this historic, recreation-rich region a cultural destination for visitors from across the United States and around the world. The Festival has presented numerous U.S. and regional premieres, and regularly commissions new works of music, dance, and theater from some of today’s most influential composers, choreographers and playwrights. The Festival’s arts education programs reach tens of thousands of area schoolchildren each year through student matinees, in-school performances, artists’ residencies, master classes and demonstrations. For more information, visit vafest.org.

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