A true hidden gem on Halpin Lane in Ridgefield, The Theater Barn is celebrating 53 years of bringing quality live theater to the residents of Ridgefield and surrounding towns. From humble beginnings as a small theater group in 1965, Ridgefield Theater Barn has grown with leaps and bounds and now offers a host of workshops for children and adults, Comedy Improv Series, One Acts, and more. Here, Pamme Jones, the Theater Barn's new Executive Director, talks about award-winning Fences (currently on stage), the Theater Barn's upcoming productions, the mission of the Theater Barn, and how you can be part of this community theater.
You are the Ridgefield Theater Barn’s new Executive Director! What does your role entail?
My role as ED is well, everything! Of course, moving our mission and artistic vision forward is paramount, but everything else falls under my purvey as well. I am working with the artistic committee right now to get our 2018-2019 season announced, getting The Barn ready to participate in Fairfield County Giving Day, working with a brilliant design team on our new website, continuing to work with the town on fixing our parking problems, working with the Chekhov Festival on their plans for this year…I could go on and on! Then, of course, there is the day to day oversight of running the theater- a full-time children’s program and our current mainstage show, August Wilson’s Fences, in performance, with another one right behind it, our Evening of One Acts 2018, that is in full rehearsal and pre-production mode. Our theater calendar is packed and so are my days- and nights!
Best part of your job?
Hands down it is the interaction I have with our artists and patrons every day. It is a privilege and a pleasure to work side by side with our incredible artists, technical staff, and volunteers to bring our productions to the stage. To interact with the audience as they experience it brings the whole creative process full circle. Any artist who is employed in the arts knows what a gift this is.
Your production Fences, which runs through February 24, has received many accolades! Tell me about this production.
When we chose Fences for our season we knew it was going to be a bold choice for our theater. August Wilson’s work is so huge, so important that we felt we had to get it up on our mainstage. We needed a director with the gravitas and reach to bring in the talent needed to bring Wilson’s powerful and epic (it runs three hours, including an intermission) work to life here in Ridgefield. Kat Ray is that director. Her reputation and work ethic brought the actors and team together for what I can honestly say is one of the most intense, powerful, professional shows we have ever presented. We knew from our first rehearsal with Foster Evans Reese and Tracy McAllister leading our cast that this was going to be a very special show. The work has been so well received by the critics and audiences alike and we are very, very proud of the show. There are still five more chances to see Fences, but anyone interested should act quickly! The shows are selling out. There is a direct link on the home page of our website: www.ridgefieldtheaterbarn.org.
It seems you are constantly holding workshops (for all ages), auditions, and performances. What does spring look like at The Theater Barn?
As I said before, the calendar at the Theater Barn is full! We have our Ridgefield Theater Barn Kids (RTBK) Spring program starting on February 20 and there are a few spots open for that. Our current adult improv class is underway and the late spring classes will open for registration on March 1st. Our mainstage production, An Evening of One Acts 2018 opens on March 9th and runs through the 31st. Auditions for our season closer, True West, are on March 26 and 27. April brings our resident Improv troupe, The Role In The Hay Players back on the main stage on April 13th. April 20th and 21st is our spring Piano Bar…n- a hybrid cabaret and karaoke evening with a live accompanist hosted by me, and everyone’s favorite Ridgefield man-about-town, Jeffrey Albanesi. This is one of my favorite events- we have some talented performers on hand, but the evening is open for the audience to come up and sing. It’s a great night- we never know who is going to show up!
Is enrollment currently open for summer camps/workshops for kids?
Yes! We have 5 weeks of summer camp in total. Our sessions run either one or two weeks. Each session includes a trip to NYC to see a Broadway show and have a master class in the Broadway classroom. Each session ends with a show that the RTB Kids put on for their families and friends and is built around the show that they will be seeing. This year, our one-week session is based on and includes tickets to Disney’s Frozen. Both of our two-week sessions are based on and include tickets to the musical Once On This Island. The week for Frozen is open for registration now; the weeks for Once On This Island open on February 23rd.
You have auditions for True West, a Sam Shepard play, on March 26 & 27. Can anyone audition? Do you have to be a Theater Barn member? How does it work?
This a great question and the answer is ANYONE can audition. Our core mission at the Theater Barn is to provide a place for anyone to come and be involved. The Ridgefield Theater Barn is a true community theater. We pride ourselves that our critically acclaimed, award-winning shows include seasoned pros and new actors. The information for True West auditions can be found on our website now. Anyone with questions can contact me directly as well. And remember, it takes a team of people to bring a show to life- so if the stage doesn’t call you there are still many ways you can be involved! From the production team to the fabulous volunteers who greet you at the door, the Theater Barn is a place where artists and creative people can thrive.
The Ridgefield Theater Barn is located at 37 Halpin Lane. Visit them online here.