Monthly Archives: October 2016

Announcing our 2017 Season Lineup and 20th Year Milestone

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Not only does 2017 offer what promises to be a highly entertaining year of theatrical programming for DreamWrights Center for Community Arts, but also marks the theatre’s 20th year anniversary. “2017 will be an exciting year for us at DreamWrights,” comments Ann Davis, DreamWrights’ Executive Director. “Especially for those of us who are founding members and have been involved since the beginning, it is great to see the organization grow and develop. Since the beginning, DreamWrights has been offering educational and mentorship opportunities across multiple generations, while constantly strengthening our reach and impact on the greater York community. The 2017 season is well positioned to continue this growth.”

With shows from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, to Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap, to the musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Hilary Adams, Director of Artistic Programming, says that this season will provide opportunities behind the scenes or on the stage for the seasoned DreamWrights participant as well as those thinking about trying something new. Adams explains, “We have comedies, dramas, and musicals. We have classic and modern text. On the technical side, we will be creating a diverse variety of theatrical worlds. We look forward to engaging the community and welcoming people to DreamWrights.”

This season, DreamWrights is proud to stage a world premiere by local playwright, Paige Hoke, Peter Pan and Mary or, the Girl Who Would Not Be a Lady, a prequel to J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan or, the Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up. For anyone familiar with Hoke or her work, this anticipated event promises to be popular for crew, cast, and audiences alike.

In addition, the 2017 season brings to life theatrical adaptations of books and films, including Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, family favorite, Babe the Sheep-Pig, and holiday staple, It’s a Wonderful Life. Adams reports, “In terms of education, adaptations provide an opportunity to experience a story in different forms. You could see the stage version first then work backwards, for example, watching the movie then reading the book, and then compare and contrast the differences between the various art forms.” She suggests this season provides plenty of inspiration for launching a reading club. “These adaptations would be fun to read and study. It would an excellent educational opportunity to look at an age appropriate theatrical adaptation, ask questions about the differences in the forms of the story, and then play with adapting a scene from the book or film to the stage.”

For summer time programming, DreamWrights’ Theatre Under the Trees brings Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew free to York County parks. Since 1998, Theatre Under the Trees has provided classic Shakespeare with a modern twist to fans and families.

DreamWrights 2017 season kicks off with Babe, the Sheep-Pig which runs February 10 – 26, followed by Pride and Prejudice (March 30 – April 1), Peter Pan and Wendy or, The Girl Who Would Not Be a Lady (May 5 – 21), The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (June 22 – 25), The Taming Of the Shrew (July 21 – 29), The Mousetrap (August 11 – 20), Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (October 6 – 22) and It’s a Wonderful Life (Dec 1 – 17). For further information or to purchase tickets, please visit www.dreamwrights.org.

Learning More than Just Lines at DreamWrights

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Katy Newton in 2007

Twenty-four year old Katy Newton says that DreamWrights was her first artistic endeavor in life. “It taught me how to use art to impact the community. It showed me how a large group of people can come together and produce something fun and entertaining! It taught me teamwork skills and respect for hard work.” After studying theatre and English in college, Katy went on to pursue a few art internships and now works in the art world at Whitney Museum of American Art.

Katy’s interest for theatre began in 1999 when she came to see DreamWrights’ production of Miracle on 34th Street. She remembers, “I was in first grade and my first ever crush was in the show! It was cool because we got to go to different rooms and walk around. All of the Christmas shows are special because the whole community comes out to see them and it’s a magical time of year.”

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Katy Newton (front) in The Clumsy Custard in 2002

Katy’s DreamWrights “career” began in 2002 with The Clumsy Custard when she was just nine years old. But she credits M*A*S*H (2007) and Welcome to the Monkey House (2008) as her favorites. “With M*A*S*H, I got to learn a lot of history about the Vietnam War as well as a few swing dancing moves. ”

A departure from the more traditional DreamWrights programming, Katy enjoyed Welcome to the Monkey House because of its unique take on four Kurt Vonnegut stories, complete with subtle societal messages. “It was one of the first DreamWrights teen shows, and was great to see literature brought to life on stage. The director, Jay Schmuck, was a lot of fun and the whole cast was great to work with because we were all about the same age.”

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Katy Newton (center front ) in M*A*S*H in 2007

Art appreciation, philanthropy, history, literature, dance moves, and life skills like teamwork and respect were all learning opportunities for Katy at DreamWrights during her formative years. Now that she’s a young adult, she finds that these experiences have benefited her in life and in her career. “Being able to improvise and adapt to different roles and fields of study is invaluable. Being able to use art as a way to give back to the community was one of the most important things I learned and is something I still try to do in my current career.”

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Katy Newton’s head shot for Kurt Vonnegut’s Welcome to the Monkey House in 2008

As for advice she gives to rising DreamWrights kids, Katy says, “Take chances; don’t second-guess yourself. Put yourself out there. Remember there is no timeline or correct way to do things — everyone goes at their own pace. It’s okay if you don’t have an idea of what you want to do when you grow up — nobody really does! You make it up as you go.”

Choose Your Fright Level at DreamFrights Haunted House

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Who doesn’t love a spooky story on a cool autumn night, with leaves blowing, and pumpkins grinning? This year, DreamWrights Center for Community Arts will be telling a theatrically haunted house story: DreamFrights! Designed by Ray Olewiler, this 350 foot haunted house maze will employ many theatrical effects to appeal to the senses. DreamFrights design volunteer and York City Solicitor, Jason Sabol explains, “You don’t find many haunted houses produced by a theater, so our technical ability to use lights, sounds, sets, and actors to create a frightening and fun – or mostly fun for the younger kids – walkthrough is at a higher level than your everyday local haunted house production. Not only that, the location itself is perfect! DreamWrights is going to be transformed into a creepy old theater and it certainly doesn’t hurt that we already have a resident ghost – or two!”

Concerned about it being too scary? Don’t be! DreamFrights will be performing at different levels of fright, so this is an event that the whole family can enjoy. DreamFrights starts off with the scare level ramped up the eve of Friday, October 26 from 7:00 – 9:00pm. So, the suggested age for that evening is 13+. But on Saturday, October 27 from 2:00 – 4:00pm DreamFrights will have a walkthrough designed for young children under age 7 where it will be more entertaining and humorous than scary. From 4:30 – 6:30pm, DreamFrights will crank the scares up a bit for kids between the ages of 7 and 12 (suggested). Then DreamFrights will go all out with frights from 7:00 – 9:00pm for the teenage and adult crowd!

Sabol says, “We wanted kids of all ages to be able to enjoy one of the best Halloween traditions, but at the same time, we wanted to make sure that it was scary enough for older kids to enjoy it. That’s how we came up the three levels of terror for the different age groups. We can make the haunted house as scary or mild as we want. So for older kids, we can amp up the terror – and blood – while the little ones still get a fun maze walkthrough. It really is the best of both worlds.”

DreamFrights Haunted House Fundraiser will begin spooking people on Friday, October 28 from 7:00-9:00 pm at the menacing level. Younger kids may prefer the mild fright level on Saturday, October 29 from 2:00 – 4:00pm. Medium frightfulness can be found from 4:30 – 6:30pm followed by menacing 7:00 – 9:00pm. Cost is $10.00 per person. Tickets are good for any of the 4 open house times and are available online through October 27 at 4pm or at the door. Proceeds will benefit DreamWrights. Suggested fright guidelines: Mild – under age 7, Medium – 12 and under, Menacing – 13 and up.

Designing Young Men

Sewing costumes in the theatre is not where you might expect to find boys. But eleven year old Daniel Perkins and thirteen year old Gianmarco Febres love the skills and experiences they are gaining while working on costume crew. Both of these bright and capable boys are putting their talents to work creating costumes for The Adventures of Peter Rabbit.

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Daniel Perkins (back) and Gianmarco Febres (front)

Gianmarco says he likes costumes equally to acting on stage. He was first on stage in 2013 for The Legend of Sleepy Hollow but he gave costuming a try earlier this year for Young King Arthur. He enjoyed it so much he’s doing it again now for The Adventures of Peter Rabbit. “I never thought about costumes that much until I actually got into costumes and then I realized it is really fun. Ironically I’m making a vest for my friend, and last time I made an apron thing for the same friend.”

This is Daniel’s first show in costumes but his second show at DreamWrights. He was previously on stage for The Secret Garden but now that he’s discovered how much fun costume crew is, he says he prefers it. “I would choose costumes over acting because actors have to memorize lines, blocking, and do quick costume changes. In costume crew you just have fun making the costumes.”

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Daniel sewing a costume

Daniel discloses that another reason he loves costume crew is because he likes being in charge of what the actors look like. “Even though many people think the actors are the best, the backstage crew honestly is. If it weren’t for the crew, the actors wouldn’t have anything. So that’s why I wanted to do costumes.”

Gianmarco says that thanks to his work in costumes he has discovered that he really likes to iron. “I like the heat of the iron best. I though t it was more complicated than it looks.” When asked about his favorite part of costume crew, Daniel emphatically answers, “Sewing! That is honestly my favorite part!” He credits DreamWrights and The Adventures of Peter Rabbit for teaching him this valuable skill. He explains, “Because now that I know how to sew, doors have opened up to me with opportunity. In school we had to make a costume for a project but now that I know how to sew it made it a lot easier.”

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Gianmarco working on the lining for his friend’s costume

Both boys agree that they enjoy theatre because it brings people together. Daniel says, “All these people you’ve never known before now you’re best friends.” Gianmarco adds, “What I like about it is that it connects the community. DreamWrights is a place that spawns more friendships than just in school and neighborhoods.”

Daniel recommends costume crew to anyone. “For someone who is hesitant about going into costumes, it might seem weird at first. But with all the skills you learn, later on you’ll appreciate that you learned them.”

Meet Our New Director of Artistic Programming

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In a completely new position to DreamWrights Center for Community Arts, Hilary Adams joins the team as Director of Artistic Programming. In this visionary role, Adams will work with and oversee all areas of programming and show direction, even directing some shows herself.

Growing up on the east coast, Adams was introduced at a very young age to theatre, ballet, opera, and puppetry. Pretty quickly she was hooked. She remembers, “My first forays onto the stage were around the age of five, when I began acting in community and school productions. In my teens, I directed shows in my high school, assistant directed a summer musical theatre camp for young people at the local community center, and attended Yale University’s graduate acting program in summer session.”

At Evergreen State College, she worked with a children’s touring theatre based in Basingstoke, England. The experiences and challenges she faced setting up in places like barns and grange halls, offering up what, in many cases, was the community’s only theatre production for the year, made her realize how much of a difference access to the arts made to a community. Thus, her love for community theatre arts and education was born.

After college, Adams headed to New York City to intern at Playwrights Horizons. From there, she was offered a Society of Directors and Choreographers Foundation Observership in the position of 2nd Assistant Director on the Broadway show Titanic. She assistant directed three more Broadway shows (Aida in Chicago and NYC, Collected Stories, Reckless) and assisted the playwright David Henry Hwang on Flower Drum Song. In addition, she also served as personal assistant to Hwang. She received a Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Director of a Play for her direction of Works Productions’ Moby Dick, and was awarded 5 Manhattan Theatre Club Directing Fellowships.

Adams earned a master’s degree in Applied Theatre from the City University of New York (CUNY). She explains, “Applied Theatre is using theatre for education, social development, and community building, in addition to entertainment. This is exactly what I have been passionately practicing in various forms since I was a teenager.” She put these skills into practice when, as part of the master’s program, she worked with the Creative Arts Team Youth Theatre, trained in interactive storytelling for preschoolers, and worked with Carte Blanche, a youth theatre in Viborg, Denmark.

All in all, Adams has directed hundreds of plays and musicals from staged readings to full-fledged productions. She has held many theatre positions, from Assistant Directing on Broadway to participation in many festivals, handling both world premieres and previously produced material. She even served as the Artistic Director for a mid-west community theatre for two years.

As far as DreamWrights, Adams says, “When I learned about DreamWrights I knew I had found a perfect match for my values, and an artistic home where I can give back through my work.” She feels that her Applied Theatre background will be useful as she anticipates returning to the heart of what is most important to her, “the intersection of community and the arts, with a solid foundation of education inside of all theatre practice. I was seeking a theatrical home that was as passionate as I about the importance of arts for and with community. I’ve found that in DreamWrights.”

DreamWrights is excited and anxious to introduce Hilary Adams to the greater York community. Join DreamWrights for a “Meet and Greet” prior to the evening show of The Adventures of Peter Rabbit on October 8 from 5:00pm – 6:30pm.