1

Greetings from Keith Dixon, Artistic Director

After several months of planning, packing, moving and general anticipating, I’m happy to say that I’m now a resident of the great Inland Northwest and am getting acclimated to Spokane and more importantly Civic.  It’s great to be here.  I’m looking forward to the new season and bringing the best of community theatre to our region.

“Community.”  An interesting word, isn’t it?  It implies so much, but to me what stands out is the general sense of belonging – belonging to something that is greater than oneself, something that is greater than the sum of its parts.  That is what theatre is: a collective effort in storytelling.  We create from disparate parts a production that entertains and sometimes enlightens; and it is this group effort in which the magic of theatre truly occurs.

It is my hope that you take the opportunity to be a part of our community, as a volunteer, patron, donor or in whatever capacity you are able.  It’s because of you and others like you that Civic thrives.

If you’re looking for that opportunity, don’t miss out on our upcoming auditions: Fiddler on the Roof auditions begin Monday, so come join the fun.  Also, if you’d like to learn a new skill or brush up on some old ones, our Academy programs aren’t just for kids.  We offer classes and workshops for all ages.  Check out all the info here.  Either way, let us know how you’d like to play a part.

See you at the show!

Keith

0

Spokane Civic Theatre launches new website look!

You may have noticed that we’ve been shaking things up a little bit with our branding lately!

We have been working closely with the fantastic folks over at Design Spike to bring you some really beautiful work to highlight the coming season, and will be integrated into future seasons as well!

Design Spike worked with Chris Wooley of Heads and Tails Photography to capture the images you see in our materials, and then Design Spike’s Art Director, Todd Zyph, went to work. Todd even wrote a blog post about the treatment he used on these images, and how the look-and-feel of our new materials came to be.

From this process, we have new brochures:

Brochure

…new posters:

posters

…and now, this new look has been applied to our website!

Website Before-After

The website design is clean, modern, and is easy to view – and so is the content. We’ve reorganized our content on every page of our site to enable users to find the information they need in a more intuitive manner. So, while functionalities will remain the same on the site, it feels like a new website!

Audition information, galleries, and donation instructions are all easier to locate in their new places on the site. See it for yourself!

We’re so excited to be able to have these beautiful, wonderfully crafted, and improved pieces to share with the community, our patrons, and our volunteers – and we hope you share our enthusiasm.

Let us know what you think about the updates!

 

0

Meet the Playwright: Matthew Weaver

In this weeklong series, we’re introducing our fabulous playwrights with work in the 26th Playwrights’ Forum Festival at Spokane Civic Theatre. We asked each of our playwrights a few questions about themselves and their entries, so you’ll know a bit about them before you see their works Friday and Saturday!

Here’s our next playwright of this feature:

Introducing: Matthew Weaver

Me (2)

Photo Credit: Rajah Bose

   Name: Matthew Weaver

   Lives in: Spokane, Washington – Born and raised. Has been back since 2008 and still on a Spokane Renaissance, getting to experience the town he grew up in as an adult.

   Playwright of: The Girl Wore Red Licorice

   Current occupation: A field reporter for the Capital Press, a Pacific Northwest agriculture newspaper serving farmers.

Did you go to school to learn how to be a playwright?

If so: where? If not: how did you learn?

I graduated from Washington State University in 2003 with a degree in journalism.

I write plays, film scripts, novels and anything else I can get my hands on in my spare time – at least a half hour a day, ideally

What is The Girl Wore Red Licorice about?

A psychic runs up to Peter Hopewell and tells him when and where to meet the love of his life. And what she’ll be wearing …

What inspired you to write this piece?

Growing up, we didn’t have a lot of money to participate in every school sale that came along, but we made darn sure to be in line when long ropes of licorice – red licorice – were being sold. I can remember walking home from Whitman Elementary with armfuls of licorice with my mom and my brother.

The family joke is that Dad was lucky to get one or two ropes when he got home from work, it was so fresh and delicious, I guess that sort of elevated red licorice in my mind, to the point that I thought, if I ever came across a girl in the right situation, and red licorice was somehow involved, that might be a sign from the fates. Ergo …

Are you going to be in the audience this weekend?

I will be there, with family and friends, on both nights!

Anything interesting about yourself, your play, or your experience that you’d like to share?

This play has its roots in Spokane and Whitman in more ways than one.

The director, Will Gilman, and I have been good friends since I was in the fifth grade and he was in the sixth. We reconnected again at Garry Middle School and at Rogers High School, where we teamed up on the school newspaper to make up “hilarious” horoscopes and stories and just generally had a good time.

Will is a talented actor, director, playwright, comedian and podcast host here in Spokane. I’ve been pestering him to collaborate since moving back, and this is our second opportunity (he previously directed a reader’s theater version of another short play of mine for another community theater production). Hopefully many more are in store …

The Girl Wore Red Licorice is one of six one-act plays showing at the sold out Playwrights’ Forum Festival this year – and one of five competition pieces. Each of the five pieces will be competing to win the Adjudicator’s Choice Award, and an Audience Choice Award.

0

Meet the Playwright: Fred Tonge

In this weeklong series, we’re introducing our fabulous playwrights with work in the 26th Playwrights’ Forum Festival at Spokane Civic Theatre. We asked each of our playwrights a few questions about themselves and their entries, so you’ll know a bit about them before you see their works Friday and Saturday!

Time to get acquainted with our next playwright!

Introducing: Fred Tonge

 FredTonge  Name: Fred Tonge

   Lives in: Ashland, Oregon

   Playwright of: Stopgap

   Current occupation: Retired. Formerly computer science
                                      researcher and teacher.

Did you go to school to learn how to be a playwright?

If so: where? If not: how did you learn?

No formal training. Joined a playwrights’ group after retirement; learned from others and by writing and rewriting.

What is Stopgap about?

Three seniors share their thoughts on memory, or lack thereof. Humorous and thought-provoking.

What inspired you to write this piece?

I read an interview with Tom Stoppard in which he mentioned dropping the pursuit of a play on memory loss, after 6 months of research, because it was a subject for brain scientists and philosophers. That night, when I could go back to sleep, I just started writing the first draft of this play.

Are you going to be in the audience this weekend?

Yes, I will be attending this weekend.

Anything interesting about yourself, your play, or your experience that you’d like to share?

My other retirement activity is weaving, mostly tapestries.

Stopgap is one of six one-act plays showing at the sold out Playwrights’ Forum Festival this year – and one of five competition pieces. Each of the five pieces will be competing to win the Adjudicator’s Choice Award, and an Audience Choice Award.

0

Meet the Playwright: Keith McGregor

In this weeklong series, we’re introducing our fabulous playwrights with work in the 26th Playwrights’ Forum Festival at Spokane Civic Theatre. We asked each of our playwrights a few questions about themselves and their entries, so you’ll know a bit about them before you see their works Friday and Saturday!

Today, we meet our second playwright!

Introducing: Keith McGregor

keith mcgregor   Name: Keith McGregor

   Lives in: Monroe, Washington (in the greater Seattle area)

   Playwright of: Lost and Found

   Current occupation: Retired, so he has a “fair amount of writing time”.

Did you go to school to learn how to be a playwright?
If so: where? If not: how did you learn?

I started college studying architecture, but that didn’t last.

My B.A. is in English and Fine Arts, and my M.F.A. is in Theatre—directing and production management.

I started writing in college and have taken a few playwriting classes, but mainly I’ve done a lot of reading about playwriting, writing plays, and going to/working in the theatre.

What is Lost and Found about?

Two hikers—both elderly men—encounter each other on a mountain trail high in the Cascades. A neglected geocache, hidden high on a peak overlooking Lake Valhalla, a pristine Alpine lake, gives new perspectives to both of them.

What inspired you to write this piece?

Each of these men is facing a different issue about aging—issues that are very common as people go into their final years. At this point, I’m looking at those (and other) considerations myself.

Are you going to be in the audience this weekend?

I’ll be there Friday night, but probably not on Saturday.

Anything interesting about yourself, your play, or your experience that you’d like to share?

Well, pertaining to this play, I do a fair amount of day hiking in the Cascades, I’m a Master Gardener, and I’m working on a series of short plays called “Viewpoints,” which looks at different issues and situations around the experience of aging. (It will—I hope—be a lot funnier than that description sounds.)

For more about my writing work, visit www.ravenwriters.com .

Lost and Found is one of six one-act plays showing at the sold out Playwrights’ Forum Festival this year – and one of five competition pieces. Each of the five pieces will be competing to win the Adjudicator’s Choice Award, and an Audience Choice Award.

0

Meet the Playwright: Merridawn Duckler

In this weeklong series, we’re introducing our fabulous playwrights with work in the 26th Playwrights’ Forum Festival at Spokane Civic Theatre. We asked each of our playwrights a few questions about themselves and their entries, so you’ll know a bit about them before you see their works Friday and Saturday!

We get to present our first playwright of this series to you today!

Introducing: Merridawn Duckler

Merridawn   Name: Merridawn Duckler

   Lives in: Portland, Oregon

   Playwright of: Fresh Hell

   Current occupation: Teaches writing

 

Did you go to school to learn how to be a playwright?
If so: where? If not: how did you learn?

I went to Reed College and wrote an undergraduate thesis of original poems; I have an MAJS in theology. How did I learn? School of Hard Knocks, with an advanced degree in Knock ‘Em Out.

What is Fresh Hell about?

It’s set in the Talent Department of Hell (And yes, Hell has a Talent Department—can’t you think of quite a few people who might be on their roster?).

King Charge manages the place—he’s literally the boss from hell—and poor Gnash serves under him. Gnash has conceived of an American Idol style competition to find a “brand ambassador” for their devilry. He’s invited the super talented and innocent young winner, Babe, to come on down. She can’t wait! But she also can’t sign the contract, since she’s a minor. Instead the signer has to be Babe’s mother, Mrs. Abraham, who has other wishes for her daughter than to serve as celebrity spokesperson to the The Under Lord. Also, they’re Jewish, and don’t really believe in hell—so maybe the whole thing is just a silly little mistake?

What inspired you to write this piece?

Bosses from hell, the idea of the anti-stage mother, American-style competition, Martin Buber and the critique of theological stances on the nature of good and evil, a sense that we are all pretty lucky to have survived our teens.

Are you going to be in the audience this weekend?

Oh yeah.

Anything interesting about yourself, your play, or your experience that you’d like to share?

My mother was an actress. They were strapping her into her corset for the Christmas show when the costumer commented that she seemed to have put on a little weight. I was born in March. If I’d arrived a bit earlier I could have been in the cast of “Nude With Violin.” I’ve been racing to catch up ever since.

Fresh Hell is one of six one-act plays showing at the sold out Playwrights’ Forum Festival this year – and one of five competition pieces. Each of the five pieces will be competing to win the Adjudicator’s Choice Award, and an Audience Choice Award.

0

Playwrights’ Forum Festival Returns to Civic

Spokane Civic Theatre’s 26th Playwrights’ Forum Festival is this weekend, June 6 and 7 in the Firth J. Chew Studio Theatre.

The Forum is returning after a five-year hiatus, and features six original plays by playwrights from around the Pacific Northwest.

26th Playwrights’ Forum Line Up

Featured original one-act plays this year are:

    • Fresh Hell by Merridawn Duckler of Portland, Oregon
    • Stopgap by Fred Tonge of Ashland, Oregon
    • Office Hours (non-competitive piece) by Civic’s Playwright-in-Residence Bryan Harnetiaux of Spokane, Washington
    • This Almost Joy by Barbara Lindsay of Shoreline, Washington
    • Lost and Found by Keith McGregor of Monroe, Washington
    • The Girl Wore Red Licorice by Matthew Weaver of Spokane, Washington

Five of the six productions are in competition to receive two awards:

    • “Adjudicator’s Choice Award”: given to the playwright with the best script.
    • “Audience Choice Award”:  viewers vote to determine the recipient.

A Bit About the Playwrights’ Forum Festival

Today, we have a guest voice on the blog: Civic’s Playwright-in-Residence, Bryan Harnetiaux! We asked Bryan to tell us a little bit about what the Forum is, how it began, and what you can expect:

2014: The 26th Playwrights’ Forum Festival

This Spring, Civic revived its Playwrights’ Forum Festival, for the first time since 2008. The PFF ran for 25 consecutive years between 1984 and 2008, customarily producing original works two weekends in June.

For most of the first 25 years of the Playwrights’ Forum Festival, there was also a Youth Division, for playwrights 18 years or younger.

Types of Works

The idea has always been to promote the art of playwriting and provide playwrights with that rare opportunity to work collaboratively in bringing their play to life.

Historically, the Festival has sought one-act plays 30 minutes or less in length, with no requirement that they be unproduced.

The Aim

Throughout its existence, the Playwrights’ Forum Festival has offered an opportunity to see a fully-produced version of each play, typically with minimal set requirements. The idea is to allow the play to stand on its own, with the focus on the playwright’s words and the dramatic action.

Launching Point

Over the years the Playwrights’ Forum Festival has featured a number of notable writers, and original works that went on to be published:

    • A play by celebrated novelist, Ursella Hegge, was featured in one of the early festivals (SOMETIMES A CARDINAL).
    • Spokane actor/playwright Tim Behrens had three plays in the Festival one year (and was surprised that his fourth play wasn’t chosen, too).
    • Seattle playwright and theatre critic Bret Fetzer was produced in several festivals.
    • Lee Howard and Greg Gamble plays, LAST TOUCHY-FEELY DRAMA OF THE AMERICAN STAGE and BELIEVE US NOT! (or BIRTH, WHERE IS THY STING?) were each produced in the PFF, and later published by The Dramatic Publishing Company of Woodstock, Illinois.
    • Brooklyn playwright, Trish Harnetiaux, (yes, my daughter) had her first play produced in the Youth Division of the festival, entitled SEE YOU IN THE MAJORS. Trish is now an accomplished professional playwright and her new short play, OH HOW HE LOVED BAKALAVA will be featured this summer in the Samuel French Off Off Broadway New Works Festival in NYC. This will be the second time Trish has been featured in that festival.
    • And, I was fortunate enough to have my 2008 PFF offering, ANTIPASTO, produced in the 2010 Samuel French Festival.

Looking Forward

This year’s Festival is a slightly scaled-down version of prior festivals:

    • Civic accepted submissions from Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho and Alaska, rather than nationally.
    • Youth Division remains on hiatus this year
    • Festival is only for one weekend, rather than two.

A more traditional 2-week run of the Festival is back 2015, and are considering the restoring of the Youth Division. See you there!

Why Go?

The wonderful thing about the Playwrights’ Forum Festival is the opportunity for audiences to give first hand reactions to new works, and participate in helping the playwright fully develop his or her script.

Curtain time is at 7:30pm each night, and is followed by moderated discussion of the plays.

Anyone who loves theatre should support this endeavor!

We would like to thank Bryan for his time and for providing some background about the Playwrights Forum Festival.

Each of the six one-act plays runs both nights, and we still have a few seats available Friday, June 6, 2014 at 7:30pm, but our Saturday, June 7th show is already completely sold out. See our website for more information.

The playwrights are so excited to share these original works with you!

2

Now Presenting: 2014-15 Civic Season Artwork!

2014-15 artwork: the wait is over!

We can now share with you the beautiful artwork for the Spokane Civic Theatre 2014-15 Season!

This season has some new shows mixed in with some old favorites. If you haven’t been to a Civic show in a while, or have friends that haven’t joined you yet, this is going to be a fabulous season to get started!

Before we get too far, we would like to thank our Season Presenting Sponsor, Porsche of Spokane! We haven’t had an entire season sponsor before (and if we have, it’s been a long time!), so this is pretty exciting stuff!

A collaborative process

The collaboration between Design Spike and Heads & Tails Photography, with Civic input, led to some really breathtaking work! You can read more about the creative process in bringing these images to life from Design Spike’s on their blog later this week (Edit: See their post here!).

You’ll notice the difference between shows that take place on our Main Stage, and the ones that show in the Firth J. Chew Studio Theatre – the feeling of the posters are a little different as well.

Without further ado…

We will post all the information about auditions, descriptions of each production and more on our website next week.

In the meantime, please enjoy these delicious works of art for our Spokane Civic Theatre 2014-15 Season:

FIDDLER

Fiddler on the Roof

Season Presenting Sponsor: Porsche
Main Stage Production Sponsor: Touchmark

HYDE

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Season Presenting Sponsor: Porsche
Studio Production Sponsor: Numerica Credit Union

CHRISTMAS CAROL

A Christmas Carol: The Musical

Season Presenting Sponsor: Porsche
Main Stage Production Sponsor: Columbia Hearing Centers

SERVANT

The Servant of Two Masters

Season Presenting Sponsor: Porsche
Main Stage Production Sponsor: David and Christina Lynch

ORPHANS

Orphans

Season Presenting Sponsor: Porsche
Studio Production Sponsor: Umpqua Bank

NUNSENSATIONS

Nunsensations!

Season Presenting Sponsor: Porsche
Main Stage Production Sponsor: Divco

CLUE

Clue: The Musical

 Season Presenting Sponsor: Porsche
Studio Production Sponsor: US Bank

SHERLOCK

Sherlock Holmes and the Curse of the Sign of Four

Season Presenting Sponsor: Porsche
Main Stage Production Sponsor: SCAFCO

SYLVIA

Sylvia

Season Presenting Sponsor: Porsche
Studio Production Sponsor: Bob and Pat Mielbrecht

12 MUSICMAN-11

 The Music Man

Season Presenting Sponsor: Porsche
Main Stage Production Sponsor: TicketsWest


LEGALLY BLONDE

Legally Blonde

Season Presenting Sponsor: Porsche
Academy Production Sponsor: Margot and Bob Ogden

THE WOMEN

The Women

Season Presenting Sponsor: Porsche
Special Production Sponsors: Wild Sage American Bistro and David Ball Landscaping

What do you think about this fantastic artwork for our 2014-15 Civic Season? Which show are you most looking forward to seeing? Let us know in the comments!

ABOUT HEADS AND TAILS PHOTOGRAPHY

Heads and Tails Photography is a local company specializing in actor and business headshots and retro pin-up photography.

ABOUT DESIGN SPIKE

We are a boutique design firm based in Spokane, Wash. We provide custom long-term solutions for: WEB | STRATEGY | IDENTITY | PRINT

0

Sneak Preview of ‘SUDS’ at Civic!

SUDS cast provides a special glimpse

Last week we visited a rehearsal of our newest studio production: SUDS and learned about the production, and even shared a playlist with songs from the show!

Now, as a special treat, we are so excited share some great sneak preview shots with you! All credit and thanks for these fantastic images goes to Chris Wooley (Heads & Tails Photography)!

The photos below showcase our fantastic actresses: Krista Vaughn as Cindy, Beth Raleigh as Dee Dee, and Phedre Burney-Quimby as Marge.

SUDS, the funny, quirky, groovy show, opens tomorrow – Friday, March 14 – in the Firth J. Chew Studio Theatre. We still have tickets available for this weekend, so come join us and sing along!

Check out the set – and those costumes!

We have some fantastic set designers and costume designers here at Civic.
Here is a bit of what they have in store for you with this production:

SUDS at Civic

Cindy, Dee Dee, and Marge in the Laundromat. Credit: Chris Wooley

SUDS at Civic

What a fun set! Credit: Chris Wooley

SUDS at Civic

Come see Cindy: It’s her birthday!

 

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!

0

Civic’s 2014 – 2015 Theatre Season

Tradition! From the desk of Jim Humes

Wow! Civic’s 2014-2015 Season is right around the corner, and we have been busy getting ready to unveil next season’s brochure. Our design team at Design Spike, Inc. gave us a sneak preview of the new season’s artwork. If only I could share it with you, but what fun would that be? Perhaps I’ll let you see just one show….let me think about it. After all, we don’t want to give too much away. How about we show you a sneak peek at the season?

We are excited. Really excited.

2014 2015 Community Theatre Season at Spokane Civic Theatre

How It Works

And it all started with Art Director Todd Zyph of Design Spike meeting with photographer Chris Wooley of Heads & Tails Photography to conceptualize our branding for the 2014-2015 season. The collaboration worked. Following the superb graphic design of Ginny Baxter, the artist who did our design work prior to this season, wasn’t easy. She has a style that is truly her own, and when she decided to take a position with another company, it was time to change. We didn’t really want to, because we love Ginny and her work. But once Design Spike agreed to take on the task, we were on board. We prepared ourselves for a change. After all, change is good, right?

Fortunately, Todd and Chris found a groove. Between hitting Civic’s costume rental shop and costume department and finding the right volunteers (both professional and non-professional actors) for the photos, Todd and Chris captured some amazing images! Those images are now works of art.

Still Work To Be Done

While there is still work to be done – layouts, text, proofing, correcting, printing, mailing, distributing– our goal is recognition. We want all brochures, posters and all collateral materials to be recognizable as coming from Spokane Civic Theatre and we hope they serve as reminder to become a member or purchase a ticket. After all, our patrons are a part of live community theatre at its best.

Our Thanks

I would like to thank everyone (staff and volunteers) that helped with Spokane Civic Theatre’s new season look. Many hours have been donated by Design Spike®, Inc. and Heads & Tails Photography – and, honestly, we couldn’t ask for better community partners.