The Studio Theatre is alive and well!

October 28th 2008

 

By Paul Joyce

 

Perth�s Studio Theatre is discovering what a difference it makes to have a new operating philosophy, fresh faces, and real community spirit behind it.

 

Since it was announced that there would no longer be a resident production company, and that the venue would again be a true community resource, the Studio Theatre has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of community support. As many people in Perth are aware, BarnDoor Productions decided to cancel its resident company agreement in September. Space for 3 plays had been reserved for the company this season, but BarnDoor Productions has since opted to pull out of the Studio Theatre at the conclusion of �Secrets of a Soccer Mom�, its latest production. BarnDoor Productions will be removing its curtains, lighting and sound equipment. The Studio Theatre will be fitted out with upgraded equipment, made possible by the financial assistance of its dedicated supporters. Without the support of these and others in the community, the theatre would have been out of business months ago.

 

�Quite simply, the theatre has been rejuvenated since the announcement�, says Penny Silberhorn, President of the Studio Theatre. �Our dedicated core supporters volunteered their time to paint walls, scrub seats and generally spruce up the theatre. People who had never been through our doors are calling to volunteer their time to build sets, sew costumes and sell cookies and coffee during performances. Some have donated costumes and promised props for the next production. It has been a thrilling time for all of us who care about our beautiful little theatre, and we are deeply gratified by the community�s response.�

 

Silberhorn acknowledges that there have been rumours about the status of the theatre, and she regrets any confusion that may have been caused.

 

�I feel it is important that people in the community understand the relationship among the various players connected with the theatre� says Silberhorn. �The Studio Theatre is operated by a management board called the Perth Theatre Project, a non-for-profit registered charity that depends on the community and the generosity of its donors and members for support. The building itself is owned by Basin Development Inc. BarnDoor Productions, which is a for-profit company, has rented the theatre under a resident company agreement for many years and contributed the use of its equipment and materials in return for reduced rent.

 

�The truth is that the Studio Theatre is alive and well. In the past six weeks our phones have been busy with requests from producers and musicians who want to bring their shows to our stage. We�re looking forward to many seasons of full seats and great community theatre. That said, we would like to see more directors and actors coming forward to play a part in this new adventure, plying their craft in a venue that has wonderful acoustics and a warm, intimate atmosphere.�

 

The revitalized Studio Theatre promises an exciting schedule of performances in the coming months. On November 15, Trevor Burt will perform. His guitar style combines elements from the classical music idiom with those of contemporary folk music. The result is a body of works both timeless and unique.

 

Next up is the ever-popular Ron Hines. Billed as the �Man of a Thousand Songs�, this legendary and multi-award-winning songwriter has written the soundtrack for a generation of Newfoundlanders.

 

On November 29, local children�s� entertainers Dave Balfour and Steve Hannah, aka �Bald Like My Dad� recently seen at the Stewart Park Festival children�s tent, perform on the Studio Theatre stage as part of the Festival of Good Cheer. For more children�s entertainment, Splash�N�Boots will delight her audience with songs from her new CD on December 13.

 

As the finale of the year, the Studio Theatre will present its first-ever production, a beautiful Norm Foster Christmas play. �Dear Santa� is laugh-filled holiday play sparkles with Foster's classic wit but is innocent enough for the youngest child as Santa tries to fulfill a child's special gift request and his staff tries to cope with unexpected supply shortages. Dear Santa opens December 4 for 7 performances and will be directed by Joan Sonnenburg, a newcomer to Perth but a long-time veteran and champion of community theatre. A gala dinner-theatre is planned to make opening night a very special evening.

 

Next year, there will be more events planned, including a talent show early in the New Year that invites singers, dancers and performers of all kinds to �strut their stuff on our stage.�

 

The Studio Theatre is located at 63 Gore Street, Perth, overlooking the Tay Basin. For more information on all of Studio Theatre�s and other community events, visit www.perthentertainmentnow.net". For information on the Studio Theatre and its new direction, call 613-236-0672.

 

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