Efforts underway to launch Kentucky Stage at Centre
By Leigh Ivey
DANVILLE, KY—For the past three years, Centre College professor of drama Dr. Patrick Kagan-Moore has been laying the groundwork for Kentucky Stage, a new summer stock theater festival that he hopes to stage in Centre's Weisiger Theater.
Kentucky Stage has been incorporated as a 501.c.3, with its own board of directors. The organization will conduct its own fundraising to generate resources for this undertaking.
With plans to present the first show in summer 2010, Kagan-Moore and his co-artistic director, actor Timothy Carter, have been devoting much time to the project.
Kentucky Stage, they hope, will be not only an ideal venue for strongly text-based performances, but also an agent for growth, outreach and education for the local community.
The inspiration for the Stage is the Williamstown Theatre Festival, a summer stock theater held on the campus of Williams College in Williamstown, Mass. Since its opening in 1955, this venue has welcomed performers such as Christopher Reeve, Gwyneth Paltrow, Sigourney Weaver, Chris Noth and Blythe Danner.
Like Williamstown, Danville is a quintessential location for a summer stock theater. Not only does the local community strongly support the arts, it is the home of a perfect summer stock stage: Weisiger Theatre.
The venue, a 360-seat theater in the round, has recently undergone an extensive refurbishment. New individual seats were installed, and the interior now features a rich and formal color scheme, with maroon seats and grey carpeting and walls.
The actors taking the stage during the debut season will be members of Actors' Equity Association, the labor union that represents American actors and stage managers in live theater. To cover their pay, along with production and front-of-house costs, the Stage managers hope to raise $200,000 by November.
Joining Kagan-Moore and Carter in making Kentucky Stage a reality are Dr. Matthew Hallock, associate professor of dramatic arts at Centre, and Gretchen Hines-Ward, Centre's fine arts coordinator in music and drama.
Hallock will serve as production manager, overseeing every area of production that is not controlled by a show's director. Along with managing the scenery, lighting, audio and costumes, he will manage Kentucky Stage budgets and the production calendar.
Though not yet fully defined, Hines-Ward's job will primarily focus on the administrative aspects of the theater, including fundraising, organization and development.
If all goes according to plan, the summer stock theater will present its first season next summer, debuting with Moliere's Tartuffe and Arthur Miller's All My Sons.
The hope is that these shows, as well as those slated to take place the following summer, will draw audiences from around the region, state, and, eventually, the entire nation.
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Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Consumers Digest ranks Centre No. 1 in educational value among all U.S. liberal arts colleges. Centre alumni, known for their nation-leading loyalty in annual financial support, include two U.S. vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices. For more, visit http://www.centre.edu/web/elevatorspeech/
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