National Company Profiles 2015

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AACTFest 2015, the National Community Theatre Festival, will take place in Grand Rapids, Michigan June 23-27, 2015.  Twelve award winning companies from across the country and U.S. Armed Services overseas will perform in the beautiful historic Grand Rapids Civic Theatre.


Region I

Warner Theatre/Warner Stage Company
Torrington, Connecticut
Winter Flowers by Lily Rusek

Winter Flowers begins around ten o’clock in the morning on the well-worn back porch of the Jardinier home in Athens, Mississippi.  All her life Delphie has taken care of her sister Rosie who has the mental age of a seven-year-old.  Delphie is now seriously ill and will no longer be able to look after her sister.  She sells the family home and plans to move them into a nursing facility.  However, Rosie refuses to leave the only home she has ever known, forcing Delphie to make a new plan for their future.

The Warner Stage Company, comprised of more than 800 volunteers from all over the state, is one of the most active and comprehensive community theatre programs in Connecticut. It was founded by the late Jim Fritch, with Rick Doyle and Neil Pagano in 1987.  Since that time, thousands of performers have “tread the Warner boards” and through the Stage Company have been inspired to pursue professional careers on Broadway, in regional theatre, film, and television to much success.  Stage Company members work to ensure the highest possible production values, giving audiences great theatre at reasonable prices and ultimately making live theatre accessible to all. Each season, more than 35,000 patrons come out to the Warner Theatre to see Warner Stage Company productions and that number continues to grow!


Region II

Rochester's Black Sheep Theatre
Rochester, New York

Feeding The Moonfish by Barbara Wiechmann

The edge of a saltwater lake. A young man who talks to fish. A curious teenage girl obsessed by his private ritual. This story explores the influence of natural forces, significance of memory, and power of human connection to weave a supernatural tale of loneliness and violence, yet filled with hope.

Rochester's Black Sheep Theatre is a coalition of artists promoting community awareness and education through the performing arts. Located in the historic Neighborhood of the Arts, the group produces several productions each season, with emphasis on new and emerging playwrights and works of an interactive, innovative or unusually creative nature.


Region III

Kokomo Civic Theatre
Kokomo, Indiana

Freud's Last Session by Mark St. Germain

On the eve of World War II, Sigmund Freud invites the writer and former atheist, C.S. Lewis to his home in London. Freud is irascible and highly opinionated; Lewis, sunny, warm and unflappable. They debate religion, love, and the meaning of life, just weeks before Freud took his own life.

Kokomo Civic Theatre was established in 1949 in the central Indiana community of Kokomo, approximately fifty miles north of Indianapolis. Kokomo Civic Theatre produces a four to five show season of musicals, comedies, and dramas, primarily at Havens Auditorium on the campus of Indiana University Kokomo. Kokomo Civic Theatre occasionally offers cabaret or dinner theatre productions in other venues. In addition, Kokomo Civic Theatre offers free acting classes for the community. In recent years, Kokomo Civic Theatre has twice hosted the Indiana Community Theatre Association State Festival. This is Kokomo Civic Theatre's first appearance in a national competition.
 

Elkhart Civic Theatre
Bristol, Indiana

The 39 Steps by Patrick Barlow and John Buchan

Mix a Hitchcock masterpiece with a juicy spy novel, add a dash of Monty Python and you have The 39 Steps, a fast-paced whodunit for anyone who loves the magic of theatre!

For more than 60 years, Elkhart Civic Theatre has been performing a wide variety of theatrical entertainment in Elkhart County, Indiana. From small beginnings as the Elkhart Little Theatre in the late 1940s, presenting one or two plays a year in borrowed or rented facilities, the organization has grown to a full-fledged arts organization. Today, Elkhart Civic Theatre owns and operates the Bristol Opera House, a 100-year-old theatre in Bristol, Indiana, where it performs the bulk of its productions. Elkhart Civic Theatre produces a six-show season along with two youth theatre productions and other special events throughout its season.


Region IV

Theatre Albany
Albany, Georgia
The Lady of Larkspur Lotion by Tennessee Williams

Written by one of America’s great playwrights, The Lady of Larkspur Lotion, set in New Orleans of the 1930s, is a powerful one-act about a fading beauty and a down-on-his-luck writer who create fantasies to cope with their dismal circumstances.  They are hounded by their landlady who demands payment of overdue rent.

Among the pecan groves and cotton fields of southwest Georgia, live theatre flourishes under the banner of Theatre Albany.  This award-winning organization has offered outstanding performances since its inception in 1932.  Theatre Albany is the oldest and one of the most highly regarded cultural organizations in the city of Albany. After more than 30 years occupying several downtown sites, Theatre Albany acquired the home of Captain John A. Davis in 1964 for its permanent residence.  This remarkable white columned antebellum treasure adapted well to its new role and, in 1980, it earned designation on the National Register of Historic Places.  Theatre Albany produces a diverse and wide-ranging bill of fare, including popular Broadway plays and musicals, classic dramas, contemporary plays, and even original works.
 

Tupelo Community Theatre
Tupelo, Mississippi
Lone Star by James McLure

Lone Star takes place in an alley behind a small-town Texas bar. Roy, a macho type who had once been a local high-school hero, is back in town after serving in Vietnam and is trying to reestablish his position in the community. Joined by his younger brother Ray, Roy drinks beer while regaling Ray with tales of his military and amorous exploits. With the arrival of Cletis, the fatuous, newlywed son of the local hardware store owner, the underpinnings of Roy's world begin to collapse.

Tupelo Community Theatre was founded in 1969.  The organization is now located in the historic Lyric Theatre on Broadway in downtown Tupelo, MS. Built in 1912 as a nearly 500-seat opera house, the Lyric was converted to a movie theatre in the 1930’s and served as a field hospital after a deadly tornado nearly leveled the town in 1936 (and is the likely origin of its resident ghost, Antoine). Legend also has it that Elvis got his first kiss in the balcony.  TCT bought and restored the Lyric in the mid 1980’s and now produces five shows in its mainstage season, as well as various other productions in its new “Off Broadway” black box theatre.


Region V

Dassel-Cokato Community Theatre/Fungus Amongus Players
Dassel-Cokato, Minnesota
The Romancers by Edmond Rostand

Separated by their fathers' mutual hatred - and a wall - two young lovers strive to fulfill a forbidden romance, a la Romeo & Juliet or Pyramus & Thisbe. This play, written by the author of Cyrano de Bergerac is the prototype for the popular musical, The Fantasticks

This company from rural Dassel-Cokato, Minnesota is housed in a venue listed on the National Registry of Historic Buildings. Now renovated and repurposed as museum and History Center, it was formerly an ergot processing plant. (Ergot is a fungus which grows on rye, used in pharmaceuticals - hence the name "FungusAmongus".) This unique building is the site for one small-scale theatre production per season: in recent years, Arsenic and Old Lace, The Diviners, and The Foreigner. A larger summer musical - such as Seussical and most recently Les Miserables - is performed yearly at Dassel-Cokato High School's Performing Arts Center. 


Region VI

The Lantern Theatre/CCAA
Conway, Arkansas
God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza, translated by Christopher Hampton
God of Carnage

After an altercation between two eleven-year-olds in a park, the parents meet to discuss their children's behavior. Despite all their best efforts, it becomes apparent the grown ups have not "mastered the art of coexistence," and the parents become more childish then their children.

The Lantern Theatre is located in the heart of downtown Conway, AR. We opened the doors of The Lantern in June of 2010, but Conway Community Arts Association (CCAA,) the organization that makes its home in The Lantern, began over forty years ago. Contributing to the artistic culture of the community through unique and engaging theatrical experiences, CCAA and The Lantern Theatre are a vital part of the artistic culture of Central Arkansas. CCAA and The Lantern Theatre seek to integrate traditional and progressive values into the drama scene of our region. 


Region VII

Platte Valley Players
Brighton, Colorado
The Nina Variations by Steven Dietz

The Nina Variations is Steven Dietz’s funny and fierce homage to Chekov’s The Seagull.  Nina and Treplev, Chekov’s two star-crossed lovers, meet over and over again in dozens of different variations on their famous final scene.  In scene after scene, they try to say all the things that were never said, but may have been thought, in Chekhov’s original. And by finally speaking their minds, they allow for the possibility that they might find to each other in the end.

The Platte Valley Players, a community theatre in Brighton, Colorado, was founded in 2003.  Just 20 miles from downtown Denver, Platte Valley Players has been quietly producing theatre for the Brighton community in the beautifully renovated Brighton Armory which was originally built in 1921 and home to the 157th Infantry of the Colorado National Guard.  Platte Valley Players was pivotal in the renovation of the Armory and its creation as the city’s performing arts center in 2008.  


Region VIII

The New Group West
Cardiff, California
I Am My Own Wife by Doug Wright

The Pulitzer and Tony award winning play is based on the true story of Charlotte von Malsdorf, a real-life German transgender who managed to survive the Nazi and the East German Communist regime in a pair of heels. Based on Wright's interviews with Charlotte, a vivid portrayal of her life by one actor enacting 35 roles, it challenges the audience with questions of identity and integrity. 

The New Group West was formed in January 2014 by Mark Zweifach, James P Darvas, and Elaine Litton out of our passion for theatre that provokes and raises emotional consciousness and the inspiration forged by Doug Wright's I Am My Own Wife

 


Region IX

Spokane Civic Theatre
Spokane, Washington
Orphans by Lyle Kessler

Orphaned brothers, Treat and Philip, are surviving in a North Philadelphia row house when Harold, a mysterious yet humorous businessman, turns their lives upside down.

Spokane Civic Theatre's mission is to foster and operate a volunteer live community theatre of high artistic merit. One of the oldest community theatres in the country, Spokane Civic Theatre strives to both produce professional-level productions and provide valuable theatre education resources to people of all ages in the surrounding communities.

 

 


Region X

SHAPE Performing Arts Centre and Performing Arts School
Mons, Belgium
Detachments by Colleen Dodson-Baker

“The laughs rain down like freshly packed snowballs in Detachments, Colleen Dodson-Baker's puffy comedy about - of all things - relationships and retinal problems.” Variety, Los Angeles.  Detachments is a very modern look at that age-old blind spot: ourselves. In this stylized work, we are watching what seems to be the fleetly recalled memories of a woman not particularly happy with the route her life has taken. Ellen is an actor in an eight-year relationship with Garry also an actor. She says she wants more, and then, symbolically, her left retina begins to detach, a phenomenon called "the curtain effect," and she begins to lose her sight…
Detachments is intended for mature audiences.

The SHAPE Performing Arts Centre and the Performing Arts School exist to provide diverse theatre, music, and dance programming of the highest quality, which stimulates, educates, and entertains the SHAPE international community. SHAPE is the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe located in Mons, Belgium. The SHAPE Performing Arts Centre was founded in 1967 and the SHAPE Players was created to serve the 28 NATO members that make up the SHAPE community. The SHAPE Players offer a season of four plays and three sessions of classes annually culminating with three recital/performances.  The SHAPE Performing Arts Centre operates on a budget of $250,000 with three staff members and a minimum of 15 to 150 volunteers per production. SHAPE is a four time Region X winner; the Players performed Wings at the national AACTFest ‘07 in Charlotte, NC, and performed Hold Me! at AACTFest ’09 in Tacoma, WA and then at AACTFest in ‘11 in Rochester with Hauptmann.

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