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Oak Creek Theatre Co.: “The builders are building”
by Mary Guaraldi
Oak Creek Theatre Co.
Producing Artistic Director

At the back of the Old Marketplace,  behind Bonni’s Fashions for Touchstone, there is a banner that says “Future Home of Oak Creek Theatre Company.” That banner has been over a year in making its appearance, but it is finally and joyously in place. The papers are signed, the engineers are engineering, the designer is designing, the builders are building.

We expect the official opening of the space to be in mid-to-late February with a special opening party and a weekend of both paid and free events including classes, a children’s show, and sneak  previews of some of the upcoming events on our calendar.

Ready, Set, Go!

There will be a lot of changes happening at Oak Creek Theatre Company over the next months.  Aaron F. Ditlefsen is joining our staff as associate producer. 

Ditlefsen was born and raised in Oakland, California. After toying briefly with the idea of becoming an entertainer of some type, he moved to Flagstaff and completed his undergraduate studies in Broadcast Production and Journalism at Northern Arizona University.

When he graduated, he stayed at NAU to work in building and venue management. I met Ditlefsen last summer while directing at NAU. Those of you renting from us will be working closely with him. His expertise will help OCTC considerably as we expand our current programming and explore new ways to serve the community.

The other changes we have planned deal with the performance side of the equation. For the past three years, OCTC has run a main stage season of four shows. The main stage will continue to be central to our programming, but many of our audience members would like us to expand into drama, new play work and more challenging material. In response to these comments, we are planning the Splinter Series, three plays each year that will feature playwrights such as Tom Stoppard, David Mamet and Yasmina Reza. We are also planning a series devoted to the gamut of performing arts from music to dance to one-person shows to poetry to chamber opera.

Children’s Classic Caravan will continue its tradition of touring productions, but will add a season of plays at the Old Marketplace, geared towards ages six to twelve.

And then there’s surprise actors in surprise roles in a Sedona Soap Opera, live at the Old Marketplace. We’ll invite you to bring your lunch or pick up something to eat or drink at Sommelier de Sedona or New Frontiers, and forget your problems for an hour while we remind you of everyone else’s.

Canyon Moon Academy will begin classes this winter. With its focus on the performing arts, the academy will include traditional classes such as acting and technical theatre work, and nontraditional classes in magic and clowning. We are planning a summer theatre course for young people during the month of July that will culminate in a production.

A Canyon Moon Theatre Company gift certificate is the perfect way to help someone you care about enjoy our activities and it’s the ideal solution for the person who has everything. Gift certificates are good towards performances by Oak Creek Theatre Company or Canyon Moon as well as towards classes at the Academy. They are always the right size, always the right color, always the right style!

This month also marked our First Annual Donor Campaign. Regional theatres rely on two sources of income, earned and unearned. Our earned income comes from ticket sales, program ads, tuition at the academy and miscellaneous other sources throughout the year. Unearned income is the result of grant applications and donations. This year, the Arizona Commission on the Arts, the Yavapai Community Foundation and the Sedona Community Foundation have shown their support for both OCTC and Children’s Classic Caravan. Their support, as we have become an independent non-profit, has been invaluable. It has allowed us to continue our programming for the people of this community as we have found a home and planned the rest of this season.

But support from granting institutions is not enough. This is an opportunity for people who believe that northern Arizona should have professional theatre for young people and for adults to turn that belief into action. You do it each time you buy a ticket, each time you recommend to a friend that they come see a show, and now you have the opportunity to do it with a donation. The initial response to our first mailing has been strong, however, buying equipment and building risers costs money.

When Children’s Classic Caravan and OCTC merged, they named the nonprofit entity Canyon Moon Theatre Company so that neither company would lose its identity at such a critical time. Canyon Moon Theatre Company is a nonprofit 501(c) (3), so your contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Each gift can be designated to support either Oak Creek Theatre Company or Children’s Classic Caravan.

We’re Looking for a Few Good. . .

Other ways to help: We are looking for lumber, tools, a stainless steel utility sink, plain paper fax, paper shredder, file cabinets, dressing room chairs and full-length mirrors, a copier, a small refrigerator, a television set and a VCR.

We promised our audiences that we would have better parking, rest rooms in the same building, and comfortable seating with a good view of the stage. In the Old Marketplace, all of those things will happen. Our commitment to this community and to high-quality theatre remains the same as it has been since we began. Your good wishes have buoyed the artists, technicians and staff of OCTC during our quest for a new home. Without our audiences there would be no point to what we do - thank you for your support and advice. We look forward to seeing you in our new home.

Visit the Old Marketplace and peak through the windows to see where we are in construction - the banner marks the spot. Or stay at home with a cup of tea and travel to our Web site (www.oakcreektheatre.org).

For more information about the theatre or to purchase a gift certificate, call me at (928) 527-8036.

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