Monthly Archives: August 2016

DreamWrights Expands Programming, Hosts First Open Mic Night


With the promise of expanding programming to non-traditional audiences, DreamWrights Center for Community Arts will host its first 21+ Open Mic Night on August 26. This anticipated event is just one example of the fresh and new activities that DreamWrights plans to add to its lineup of programming in its soon-to-be renovated facility. With the changes underway at DreamWrights, a new Innovative Programming Committee (IPC) was formed headed up by DreamWrights board member, Kevin Alvarnaz. “There is a community of adults who is seeking an outlet to showcase their talents in a fun, relaxed, and low pressure atmosphere. DreamWrights has the space and availability to host such an event. So we decided to give it a try and so far, the response has been great.”

One local talent who plans to perform is the father son blues duo, 10 Gauge. Ben Garner and his father will be playing a couple of acoustic numbers as well as running the sound for the event through Garner’s company, Rent Sound Gear. Garner says, “Rent Sound Gear specializes in providing sound for events like this. We’ve hosted many open mic nights before. We will also be recording the event.” He says he is looking forward to this community event.

For this first open mic event, DreamWrights will be limiting its audience to those over 21 years of age. Tutoni’s will be providing a cash bar and York Pretzel Company pretzels will be available for purchase. DreamWrights will be following up this first open mic with plans for an all ages open mic event and maybe even a teens only one as well. Alvarnaz explains, “Our teen committee members are anxiously awaiting a date for their own event. I think several of them have even begun rehearsing for it already!”

DreamWrights’ inaugural Open Mic Night will be held Friday, August 26 from 8:00pm to 11:00pm. Advance tickets may be purchased online for $4 at or by calling 717-848-8623. Tickets will be available for $5 at the door. Ages 21+ only, please.

Adults and Teens Take the Spotlight in The Beverly Hillbillies

'The Berverly Hillbillies' archive view

This summer, many adults and teens are taking the stage at DreamWrights’ production of The Beverly Hillbillies. There a few parts for younger actors, but primarily the show calls for an older cast. DreamWrights Guest Director, Kirk Wisler, is excited about this nuance, “It’s cool because Mom and Dad are really getting some time in the spotlight.”

A handful of these participants are new to DreamWrights. This might be the first time audiences will meet them. Kirk laughs, “The cast is doing such a good job getting into character, that I think they will be remembered as their character more than their actual identities. Hopefully this show will be talked about and looked back on for many years.”

'The Berverly Hillbillies' archive view

Humor is a large part of what makes this production appealing. Kirk explains, “I was attracted to this show because of the comedy aspect to it. It’s so much fun to block a show and add in your personal comedic taste. This show is very familiar to audiences, which builds the anticipation to see it!” Kirk is aware of the challenge the familiarity presents to him as a director. “Audience members have an idea in their head of each character and how the story should go. So it’s my job to make sure we live up to their expectations, while at the same time giving them something that they haven’t seen before.”

Kirk, the cast, and the crew are having a lot of fun staging the show and they hope audiences are equally entertained. It is Kirk’s hope that participants and audience members alike can forget about all the seriousness and negativity in the world today and instead, can enjoy themselves for a couple of hours. “Maybe that can carry over into the rest of their week or summer,” wishes Kirk.

'The Berverly Hillbillies' archive view

Director Kirk Wisler started at DreamWrights when he was in 4th grade acting, stage managing, and later coordinating stage combat scenes. He directed his first production, The Mouse that Roared, last summer and had such a good time that he is returning this summer to direct The Beverly Hillbillies.

The Beverly Hillbillies opens Friday, August 12 at 6:30pm and runs August 13, 19, 20 at 6:30pm and August 13, 14, 20, 21 at 2:30pm. Tickets may be purchased online at or by calling 717-848-8623. Seats cost $10 for general, $14 for reserved.

Building Imagination in a Diverse World

20160804 Susan Craver (7)

For the past several years, Susan Craver has encouraged her granddaughters to participate in DreamWrights summer camps. Grandmother to 9 year old Ruby and 7 year old Dahlia, Susan knew her girls were creative and imaginative and she wanted to give them an outlet.

She tells a story about a day recently when she heard from her daughter about the girls. “My daughter said that Dahlia was upstairs producing a rock opera with singing parts for all the ponies. She was acting out the whole play singing every part. Meanwhile, Ruby was downstairs with all of her Fisher Price toys set out like they were in a play.” Susan recognizes, “They have wonder and pretend in them. They are great pretenders.”

20160628 Sculpture Camp (6)
Ruby at Sculpture Camp

According to Susan, Ruby chose to do the sculpture class this summer. “She wanted to do something more artistic and hands-on rather than a production this year.” Susan says Ruby is more of a hands-on person where Dahlia is more active. “In the circus camp, she was all over the place.” She says with a chuckle. “That’s the great thing about theater because there’s always a slot for whatever your talent is.”

Susan has enjoyed bringing her granddaughters to productions at DreamWrights and they have loved everything they have come to see. “I see the benefits both from attending the productions as well as getting children to participate.” Both she and the girls have come to appreciate the group effort that it takes to stage a show. “There is a big element of cooperation that’s way beyond just standing up and doing your part.”

Dahlia at Under the Big Top camp

Throughout the years that her granddaughters have been active at DreamWrights, Susan has seen a change in the mix of children who are participating. “Because we are diverse in the city – and I’m glad DreamWrights is in the city – I’m all for having as many different kids participating as possible. I think theater offers a diversity in and of itself that is just great for kids.” Indeed, DreamWrights welcomes kids of all backgrounds and ethnicities as we continue to “Build Characters for Life.”

Burn This

20180810 Burn This (21)

A Public Service Announcement from Bob T. Builder.

It’s fire pit time in the York area and what is your best source for wood? Why DreamWrights, of course! We are making room for the renovations and are clearing out a lot of our shorter lumber. Just imagine yourself sitting around the backyard fire and reaching for a piece of 1×4 that may have been in Seussical, Ann of Green Gables or perhaps the legendary Annie. Ah! The memories! Reminds me of that old country song. “Throw Another Memory on the Fire”.
And with winter coming up you should be stocking kindling for the wood stove.

Did you know that you can do more with wood than just burn it?! People have been known to make blocks and toys from theater shop scraps.

So bring a big box and visit the basement Scene Shop. You will find several bins roughly in the middle of the basement with a sign, “Burn this”.

20180810 Burn This (8)

Contact Bob T. if you have any questions or need help.

This will be a big service to DreamWrights. If we can’t send this off to be burned, we might have to rent a dumpster, and you know we have better things to do with our money!

Going Hillbilly

You know your community theatre has gone hillbilly when…

20160803 Beverly Hillbillies Promo (7)

Your gutted roadkill prop contains interesting hors d’oeuvres.
Beth S.

After rehearsal you google “sowbelly” and “hand-slung chitlins” (and then regret it).
Andrea U.

You find yourself looking for a cement pond when it gets hot.
Stephen N.

The show’s publicity posters proclaim: Y’all come in and set a spell!

You mistakenly come to the theatre looking for good stuff cheap.
Steve Olewiler

20160803 Beverly Hillbillies Promo (26)

Everyone looks and sounds like a hillbilly even when not on set.
Jo Olewiler

They redesign the construction project to move the “bathrooms” 50 feet beyond the building.
Kevin Alvarnaz

The word “fixin” takes on many meanings.
Steve R.

When you call a pool a “cement pond”.

When you start saying “fer” instead of “for”.

When you can’t stop speaking in that accent.

When you can’t remember how to read.
Austin O.

When you start dressing like one fer sure.
Patrick H.

Don’t you want to be a hillbilly too?! The Beverly Hillbillies opens Friday, August 12 at 6:30pm and runs August 13, 19, 20 at 6:30pm and August 13, 14, 20, 21 at 2:30pm. Tickets may be purchased online at or by calling 717-848-8623. Seats cost $10 for general, $14 for reserved.

DreamWrights Benefits from Two Unsuspecting Role Models

When they learned about DreamWrights’ Capital Campaign, it was eleven year old Maddie Trimmer’s and fourteen year old Sophie Nicholson’s natural inclination to jump right in to help in any way they could. Maddie remembers her parents discussing the campaign, “I heard them talking about how they were going to donate some money and I said, ‘Well, can I donate some money too?’” So Maddie began doing odd jobs around her mother’s office for some extra cash.

20160725 DW Donors Nicholson Trimmer

Mom Gina Trimmer explains, “DreamWrights is so near and dear to her heart. That it is what comes first. It’s natural for her. When we talked about doing the capital campaign, she said, ‘Well what can I do?!’ Our mouths dropped and it touched us to know that she wanted to give to something. To help.”

Sophie is no stranger to philanthropy. This will be the fifth summer of hosting her lemonade stand to raise money for the non-profits that she believes in. But this recent contribution to the capital campaign was in addition to her annual lemonade stand donation. To earn the extra cash, she picked up some jobs like cat sitting and washing the dog. When she earns money, she divides her earnings into save, spend, and donate. She says she saves up the donate money until she decides what she wants to do with it. “And then we were going to the kickoff event,” she says. She knew the timing was right.

“When I gave money to DreamWrights’ Capital Campaign it made me feel good. I felt like I was helping because DreamWrights is kind of like my second home. It felt exciting for me that we’re getting to contribute to what’s going to happen [with the construction] and how cool that’s going to make DreamWrights with the re-do-al,” Sophie says with a giggle, knowing that she just made up her own word, just like Director Diane.

Maddie interjects, “I hope this place gets more people and opens up a lot more and that people fall in love with it like we did. It is a place that’s really special to a lot of people because you can be yourself and it doesn’t really matter. You don’t get judged. I felt good inside [to give] because it is a place that I really love.”

20160725 Sophie Maddie Giving Girls (33)

“I hope this campaign will help DreamWrights get more recognized,” Sophie anticipates. “This is so big. There were a lot of people who don’t come to DreamWrights who came to that kickoff event. I really hope that maybe they’ll be like, ‘Oh! This is a really cool place and I can help make it better.’ I hope more people will be drawn to the welcoming and loving family of DreamWrights.”

When it is pointed out to the girls that they are role models for not only other kids, but also adults and community members who might not realize the importance of supporting non-profits that they believe in, both girls were dumbfounded. They never thought of themselves as role models. After a few minutes of thinking about it, Sophie humbly comments, “I’ve given before but I never thought about the fact that I could influence someone else to do something of the same.” Maddie modestly agrees, “I didn’t realize that, wow, I might be a role model for some total stranger.”

Although these girls were not the largest donors, they understand that every dollar counts. Sophie nails it, “It doesn’t matter whether it is a dollar or a thousand. You are making a difference. Every step is a closer step to the goal. Even a dollar – that’s stepping closer to where DreamWrights wants to be. It doesn’t matter what you give.” She’s absolutely right. Every amount helps and, even better, there is something about giving that makes you feel good. It makes you feel like you’re part of a larger community working towards a common goal.

Maddie adds, “You are contributing to a great place that could change someone’s life any day. You could be a role model too. It doesn’t matter who you are or how old you are. Whatever you are… it’s just… you count!”

About DreamWrights’ Capital Campaign
On July 1, DreamWrights kicked off the public phase of its $2.5 million Capital Campaign. This campaign will allow DreamWrights to make the investments necessary to increase the reach of its special programs and provide accessibility to all. The capital project will achieve two strategic goals: to grow programs and audience and to revitalize our landmark, historic building. Community support is essential in helping DreamWrights reach its $2.5 million goal.

DreamWrights’ Capital Campaign Opens the Curtain Wider

Karin Swartz

Twenty something Karin Swartz is struggling to find theatre arts offerings in the York area for her age group. She says that local productions that appeal to her are few and far between. “I would love to see more offerings, especially straight plays and productions that push boundaries, try new concepts and are well done. I think this could include both traveling shows as well as local productions.”

Karin is a young professional who spent a number of her formative years at DreamWrights. Growing up, she participated in several production camps, served as a stage manager, and ran light and sound boards. Later, Karin did the lighting design for the DreamWrights production of MASH.

Karin’s DreamWrights experience had a big enough impact on her that she went on to pursue it after high school. She majored in theatre at Ursinus College with a focus on technical theatre, stage management, production design and lighting design. “If it were not for that first production camp at DreamWrights where I learned that there was a place in theater for the hyper-organized, coordinator-of-all-those-in-the-vicinity planner that I am, I may not have pursued it at all.”

Despite the fact that she had not been active at DreamWrights for many years, when Executive Director Ann Davis asked her to be a part of the fundraising committee for DreamWrights’ $2.5 million capital campaign, she didn’t hesitate to jump in. “I may not have been the target audience for the programming of DreamWrights Youth and Family Theater but I still recognized its value to younger generations and families. As I learned about the new mission of DreamWrights Center for Community Arts, I became even more excited knowing that there is a place for the programming I grew up with as well as a multitude of other opportunities for the live arts.”

Once Karin was on board to help with the campaign, DreamWrights learned of her interest in directing The Complete Works of William Shakespeare… Abridged. With less than a month’s notice, Karin agreed to direct an abbreviated version of the show at DreamWrights’ Capital Campaign Kickoff Event. Karin explains. “Complete Works is a hilarious show and one that anyone who has picked up, seen or experienced Shakespeare will enjoy. The true fans of the Bard will love all the details but a novice fan will appreciate the larger references to his most popular work. I wanted to stage this show, or part of it, because I miss theatre and I think this is an easy to digest piece of theatre that is new to many of the audience members that will see it.”

Complete Works

On June 30, Director Swartz, dressed in black behind the curtain, along with Bryan Caine, Mike Pritchard and Patrick Casey performed an abbreviated version of Complete Works to an eager audience at DreamWrights’ Capital Campaign Kickoff Event. The performance was a hit! Along with acts like Kingsfoil, Illstyle & Peace, and Oxymorons, DreamWrights introduced its potential to young professionals, solidifying its place in the York community as a center for performance arts.

Karin sums it up, “I’m really excited about the future of DreamWrights as a Center for Community Arts! There is so much potential for great programming, education and productions!”

The possibilities the capital campaign will provide for DreamWrights are indeed exciting. Stay tuned!

About Karin Swartz: President of York Young Professionals, Karin works at York Country Day School as the Director of Communications. She is thrilled about YCDS’ anticipated new performing arts center scheduled to open later this summer.

About DreamWrights’ Capital Campaign: On July 1, DreamWrights kicked off the public phase of its $2.5 million Capital Campaign. This campaign will allow DreamWrights to make the investments necessary to increase the reach of its special programs and provide accessibility to all. The capital project will achieve two strategic goals: to grow programs and audience and to revitalize our landmark, historic building.

Community support like Karin’s is essential in helping DreamWrights reach its $2.5 million goal.