GALLIPOLIS — The French Art Colony’s Riverby Theater Guild (RTG) has just completed its third season of productions, and plans are being made for 2013. In 2012, the community theater group produced nine productions from a variety of genres, including murder-mysteries, family-friendly stories, comedies and a musical. Nearly 2,000 local school children in Gallia And Mason counties enjoyed RTG performances in their schools, in 2012.
Each year the group selects a variety of scripts and performs in a variety of venues throughout the area; schools, community spaces, even outside. FAC Executive Director, Joseph Wright explains, “Our theater group has enjoyed great support from the community with a number of venues offering their spaces for our productions. The performance space is a key component in the choice of show. Our recent production of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Voice of the Prairie, was chosen to be presented outdoors at the Bob Evans Farm space. The natural surroundings were a perfect enhancement to the audience experience.”
Shows are also chosen at the request of patrons. Feedback for recent surveys are helping to plan the 2013 season. The RTG volunteer actors also offer suggestions of shows they would like to see produced. Over 100 different volunteer actors created over 200 roles in 2012, and logged more than 13,000 volunteer hours.
The group has seen a steady increase of ticket sales, actors auditioning, business sponsorships, and donations of supplies since it began in 2010.
“Because of our increasing support we are better prepared to take on the larger, more advanced projects, such as our recent production of the musical, Sweeney Todd. Each year we plan to raise the bar a little higher and challenge our team a little more. It’s how we will grow, improve and thrive,” says Wright.
Although the 2013 Season is not yet fully-planned, a few productions are set, along with audition dates. The first production will be the classic, romantic-comedy, The Fourposter, to be presented in February. The endearing play follows a married couple through three stages of life, and tells the story with humor and heart. The production is directed by Michelle Miller, and will feature local actors Steve and Jessica Sisson.
A children’s theater production of Aladdin, will perform in March/April. Auditions for the show will be Thursday, January 17, at 6 p.m., and Saturday, January 19, at 11 a.m., at the French Art Colony. Audition packets will be available January 5. Most roles will be cast with youth, in second grade or older. Some roles will be available for adults. The production is directed by Joseph Wright, and will be presented to the general public, as well as in-school performances.
The beloved musical, Annie, currently enjoying a revival on Broadway, will be presented in June. Directed by Lori Sanders and Beth Fowble, this exciting project has great roles for youth and adults. Based on the comic strip Little Orphan Annie, the musical is one of the most popular family stage musicals of all time. Auditions will be held at the beginning of April. Audition packets will be available in late March.
Additional projects and productions are in the planning stages and will be announced in the coming weeks. RTG welcomes new faces at all auditions. Prior stage experience is not necessary to participate. The group is also seeking volunteers for costuming and set work, as well as other operations assistance. If interested, call the French Art Colony, at 740-446-3834. The most up to date information is also posted on the website, www.frenchartcolony.org.