Where is stage right? What direction do you go to get down stage? How does a designer create a set for a show? What is casting and how do directors do it? How can dance enhance a theater performance? What makes Reader's Theater different?
Methow Valley Elementary students in the after school Cub Club program will have the opportunity to explore all of these questions, and much more, throughout the 2016-2017 school year. The Merc is super excited to have about fifteen students in grades three through six registered for this Children's Theater program that will focus on skills like character development, set design, mask-making, dance, reader's theater, stage blocking and many other elements of theater performance. With the generous help of volunteers, we have a variety of sessions planned for each Tuesday after school. We are calling it The Merc Playhouse Cubs.
As part of the program, senior Liberty Bell High School student Bryce Tillman will be leading some of the sessions for work on his Senior Project - making this a partnership that spans into the high school as well. Bryce will call on his own experience acting onstage (you may have seen his excellent performance in Footloose in the spring LBHS show) to teach the younger students theater skills and also learn about theater leadership and teaching methods himself. We are thrilled to have him on board!
After providing a six-week dance session last year, this is the first time The Merc has worked with Cub Club to provide an entire year of programming and we are looking forward to it! It's wonderful to have this extra opportunity to teach students the necessary skills for stage production and performance.
If you are interested in volunteering to help with any of the sessions - it doesn't matter how many. Step in for one week, or help with a series of sessions. Have an idea for leading a session? By all means! We do have room in the calendar for additional volunteers and would love your help. Contact Missi at 509.997.7529 or email her with your idea for a session and/or available dates. All volunteers need the necessary background check paperwork on file at the district office.
A season in review
It was an exciting and busy season at The Merc! We began last October with Diabolical Elixir, a live, gothic radio melodrama, and from there we finished 2015 with Winter Wonder II, Holidays in The Methow. We started 2016 with The Last Salmon—a musical inspired, written, and produced from the ground up, in The Methow Valley, which then toured to Seattle in June. Our Children’s Theater production of The Wind in the Willows brought us to spring, and the adult comedy Venus in Fur closed our season to delighted audiences. These fully-produced selections featured all-local casts, TWO world premieres of original work (Elixir and Salmon), and were joined by five professional guest artists: Casey James (Grammy Award-winning composer), Harmony Arnold (costume designer), Lily McLeod (lighting designer), Rod Molzahn (children’s theater director), and Dominic Cody Kramers (sound designer).
In between all of those productions, we presented readings of Snapshots and two one-act scripts: Rain and Red Coat. Plus, Seattle U brought us Women of Troy for which we reached out to Liberty Bell High School students and teachers with classroom materials and free tickets—about 30 students took advantage of those to see the show!
If that didn’t fill the calendar...
We were fortunate to have scheduled two full camps in July and August, both focusing on a variety of theater skills and reaching out to broad ages—including adults! We enjoyed pre-school dance throughout the season when the stage wasn’t in use, and Ki taught an enriching theater workshop on a winter Sunday afternoon.
And there was even more!
We also hosted numerous rental events for community organizations like the Methow Conservancy, Liberty Bell Drama Club, Cascadia, Methow Valley Chamber Music Festival, and many more. We socialized in our re-decorated office salon with Friends of the Merc, held two open rehearsals, and celebrated with cast parties on Opening Nights. We invited two new visual artists to display work in our space and we even left room in the calendar for a theater upgrade that includes a stage right exit, which you should come check out as soon as you can!
The Important News: