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Kathleen Dolan Outlines Vision for The New Grange Theatre

Oct 23, 2017 12:59PM ● By Linda Ditch
This past August, ArtisTree opened the Grange Theatre. Located in the former Teago Grange Hall, the new state-of-the-art facility seats 90 people and has kept the Grange name because of a special agreement with the National Grange Association.

ArtisTree Executive Director Kathleen Dolan answered a few questions about the new space:

Q:  Why was the new theater necessary?

A: The new theater was not exactly necessary, but the idea of adding a theater facility was exciting for a variety of reasons. One thought was that a theater program would become an excellent way to blend and further develop many of the arts areas ArtisTree already offered (such as visual art and music) into a culminating vehicle of expression. A theater facility also becomes a place where the community gathers under one roof. This is in line with a large part of the mission of ArtisTree to provide a community center in a rural area where interior gathering spaces are few and far between.

Q:  What does the new theater bring to your program?

A: The theater is in its infancy, so time and exploration will tell what it will bring to the rest of our programs. Aside from facilitating a blend of other art forms, so far the theater has attracted the interest of the professional theater community as well as a broader reach into the population of the area who enjoy attending performing-arts events. The hope is that the Grange Theatre will become a welcome, non-intimidating place for the community to directly participate in the dramatic arts and the many other vehicles of personal expression a theater facilitates.

Q: What’s in the works for upcoming shows?

A: We are currently working on solidifying upcoming events and activities that will happen in the theater. So far, our schedule definitely includes a winter performance produced by BarnArts (a local arts organization), a children’s theater camp and performance in June and July of 2018, and the potential of another professional series of musicals like we just held for the end of summer 2018. We are hoping to establish a series of ongoing theater classes and workshops, such as an improvisational group, acting techniques class, and comedy workshops. The idea of a film series has also piqued our interest. We’d also like to produce one or two shows a year with a primarily local cast. There are many opportunities out there that are dependent on what groups and individuals arise and introduce themselves and what proposals they may have. Much of ArtisTree’s programming is established by the solicitation of proposals from members of the community.

Q: Anything else you’d like to add?

A: The new theater is both exciting and challenging, particularly in terms of balancing a desire for quality entertainment or engaging, theatrical experiences on the part of the community audience and providing opportunities for the community to be the quality entertainment and engage an audience themselves. The smallness of the theater really lends itself to a beginning or re-entering theatrical performer or participant.

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