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Synetic seeking funds to see it through while seeking new home

Troupe was forced to vacate its longtime Crystal City space earlier this year

As it searches for a home, Synetic Theater won’t be idle. But there’s a cost attached to keeping things afloat in the interim.

“Moving all of our stuff, renting storage and preparing new work for 2024-25 will cost us upwards of $100,000 in the next six months,” the Arlington-based performing-arts organization said in an e-mail to supporters.

After 15 years in Crystal City, the troupe lost its lease and presented its final production there in early spring.

But, the organization’s leaders say, that is not where the story will end.

“We are planning, negotiating, searching and developing new works, new possibilities and, most importantly, new locations to perform our work, educate young artists and rebuild Synetic into a new form,” the troupe said. “With your help, we can transition out of the old era and into a new one. Every little bit helps.”

The theater troupe, founded by the husband-and-wife duo Paata and Irina Tsikurishvili, has announced it will present a summer-of-2025 production in Olney, Md. The e-mail seeking fund-raising support said Synetic is “on the cusp of announcing multiple productions and programs’’ for the 2024-25 season, potentially closer to its longtime Arlington home.

As for the ability of the troupe to find a home in Arlington, that’s an open question, although there are some options on the table.

An advocacy group – Embracing Arlington Arts – has put forward a proposal to partner with a developer to build a $10 million arts center, much as a similar space (Capital One Hall) came to life as part of a redevelopment project in Tysons. The Embracing Arlington Arts concept, however, remains in the embryo stage.

And at a recent meeting with the Arlington County Civic Federation, representatives from Amazon didn’t dismiss out of hand an audience member’s suggestion that their company help build a performing-arts venue in Arlington

It turns out that Synetic’s lease loss was a precursor of things to come for its neighbors. JBG Smith Properties, which owns the Crystal City Underground (to which Synetic’s space was connected), on April 30 announced plans to close it by the fall. The decision will impact about two dozen businesses located there.

“It has become apparent that the Underground retail concept is no longer financially sustainable,” the property owners told the Washington Business Journal. “We are working with tenants as they relocate, offering flexibility during this period of transition.”

The relatively unique underground shopping mall dates back 50 years. Its proximity to the Crystal City Metro station and the thousands of workers in the nearby offices aboveground made it a success for retailers, but COVID-era changes in work habits, coupled with the arrival of options in other areas of the rebranded National Landing area of Crystal City and Pentagon City, may have sealed its fate.