Many entertainment venues across the country have closed due to the pandemic. Now a new place opens in DC
The new location is a unique partnership between a local church and a local concert organizer.
Many know the building at the corner of 8th and MSE streets across from Navy Yard as Blue Castle.
The building dates back to the 1800s when it came to the turnaround of the tram system.
Now, the same space that once housed the trams houses religious services and soon concerts. It will be a state-of-the-art theater that can accommodate 850 people.
â1891, very historic building and fun enough to restore its original use where people come in and receive energy; they hopefully gain some faith. And, maybe it’s just things that go on inside them and then come back to town with it, invigorated, âsaid Joel Schmidgall, executive pastor of National Community Church.
The church of the national community owns the building.
âWe’re not here to just build a church; we are here to bless a community. Thus, we see our spaces as gathering places where we can offer the community a space that will bring added value, âsaid Schmidgall.
The church has a cafe and other community services inside the old streetcar.
âWe have services here on Thursday evenings and then on weekends as well, but we love our spaces so they can breathe, move and live throughout the week,â Schmidgall said.
Jon Weiss, a talent buyer for Union Stage Presents, a nightclub group in DC and Virginia, has seen the impact of the pandemic on independent venues across the country.
âIt was horrible; It was horrible, and to have an opportunity like this, to open a room, we are very lucky. We are very lucky, âWeiss said. âWe are fortunate that they trust us with their space and allow us to organize events of all kinds and caliber here. “
Tickets are already on sale for concerts at the Capital Turnaround, which will hold its first shows in September.
âWe’re going to be doing a lot of different comedy, rock, folk, and hip hop shows,â Weiss said.
The partnership may be unique, but the pastor points out that providing a space for live music helps fund other services provided by the church in the neighborhood.
âWe have the Miracle Theater, where we can show second-run movies, where children and families can come and enjoy the blessing of art. This is another step in that direction, âsaid Schmidgall.
Capital Turnaround was scheduled to open last year, before the pandemic, and had sold its first show, which had to be canceled. The show is now rescheduled for this fall.