DRACUT — As the various stage productions in town have shown, Dracut does not lack in talent, either onstage or behind-the-scenes.
Now, two members of the nonprofit Actors Inc., a Community Theater Organization Reaching for the Stars, Inc, are planning to tap into that pool of talent. They’re inviting both adults and children to get involved in all levels of a production that could just be the beginning of community theater in Dracut.
Drawing on Dracut’s small-town ambience and sense of community, this duo is bringing American playwright Thornton Wilder’s Our Town to “our town.” Professionals will provide training as part of the workshop, and proceeds will benefit local nonprofits.
Corrinne Hickey of Tewksbury, president and artistic director of Actors, Inc., and Sharon Piendak of Dracut, assistant producer of Our Town, are enthusiastic about the upcoming production. They recently answered five questions about how “our town” can get involved in the various aspects of Thornton Wilder’s much-loved depiction of Our Town.
Q: What prompted you to create this program for Dracut?
A: (Corrinne) I’ve always been impressed with the way that Dracut seems to support Dracut. I’ve been to various performances and events and I see that they’re always well attended. But I did not notice any community theater. There is a definite need for another creative outlet in this town. The talent is here; it just needs to be tapped.
(Sharon) We’re hoping this continues as a community theater workshop in Dracut, bringing classic theater, musicals and drama, and providing an outlet for the talent.
Q: Who can audition, when and where?
A: (Corrinne) Anyone ages 11 to 70 is welcome to audition. There are parts for children and adults in the play. Open auditions will take place on Feb. 2 and 3 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., but we haven’t finalized the Dracut location yet. That will be announced soon. We do hope to see a lot of “newbies” — that is the goal. Experience is not necessary. We’re trying to give back to the community, so involving a lot of people is important.
(Sharon) If kids get involved, it can open up opportunities for them in other productions. Actors, Inc. does plays involving youth roles. We hope that by getting them involved in Our Town, they won’t hesitate to try out for our other productions. It will give them experience and confidence and it breaks the glass ceiling.
Q: When and where will the performances take place?
A: (Corrinne) Show dates are Friday, April 20 (evening); Saturday, April 21 (evening); and Sunday, April 22 (matinee). Rehearsal week is Monday, April 16 through Thursday, April 19. We are awaiting final confirmation on the location and will announce that soon, but it will definitely be in Dracut. If we sell out, we’ll add more dates. It will be general seating with ticket prices at $20 each, which will benefit several nonprofits.
Q: You will use “reverse sponsorship” to benefit nonprofits. Please explain.
A: (Sharon) Reverse sponsorship is a way to get community organizations involved and have the proceeds come back to them so they can help themselves (if nonprofit) or help their favorite charity (if for-profit). Any organization that helps promote the event, sells ticket, or helps advance the production in any way will, at the end, receive a portion of the proceeds through a donation. So far, Friends of the Library, Sunny Sky and Rainbows, the Dracut Historical Society and the Merrimack Valley Rotary have signed up. We encourage more to sign up.
Q: Do you anticipate a lot of interest in “Our Town”?
A: (Corrinne) Yes, I do. I think it’s fresh, new and exciting. People in the town of Dracut will now have other opportunities for participation in the performing arts. And it’s not just in performing, but crafting of sets, costumes, production and promotion. Plus, Our Town is a well-known American classic that definitely relates to the Dracut community. It’s a very warm play. People will settle in and enjoy the moment.
(Sharon) I anticipate that Dracut will support the beginnings of community theater and arts as they do every other endeavor in this town. Plus, it’s another great way to bring the community together.
actorsincorporated.com; PO Box 93, Tewksbury, MA. 978-851-0661.