VENICE, Fla. (WFLA) — More than a month after Hurricane Ian left its main stage a mangled mess, the show will go on at the Venice Theatre.

Executive Director Murray Chase recounted when the theater was damaged as the devastating storm blew through the area.

“We stood in the back parking lot and we felt like we had just gotten punched in the gut because that building, which many of us called our working home for more than 20 years, was just waving in the breeze with a giant hole in it,” Chase recalled.

In a matter of minutes, they turned feelings of despair and panic into those of determination and switched into planning mode.

“We said, ‘Okay, now what do we do? What’s next? What can we do?” Chase said.

The theater hired a contractor to work on renovations. Now, the crew is rebuilding the main stage.

“We turned, basically a giant room with a carpet and made it a 125-seat thrust theater space. It’s only about 1/3 of the Jerve Theatre our 432-seat main stage holds but, we can certainly maintain a presence and entertain as many people as we can in that theater,” Chase said.

During the construction, performances will continue at other venues on the property.

Hamlet P.O.V., the first performance since the hurricane, will take place Friday, in their smaller, more intimate venue, marking a major milestone in the theater’s recovery process.

“I feel more comfortable than I have in a long time on the success and growth of the Venice Theatre. We have a long road ahead of us, but we’re going to get there, we’ll make it,” Chase said.

He says another venue will open on the property in January. Chase expects repairs to the primary theatre to continue for at least another year.