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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • Theater troupe schedules new play

  • The Hannibal Community Theatre is continuing its schedule of performances, despite its lack of a permanent location.
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  • The Hannibal Community Theatre is continuing its schedule of performances, despite its lack of a permanent location.
    Plays are currently being performed at the St. John’s Lutheran School gymnasium. The HCT presents an average of three plays a year.
    “Our building on the corner of Sixth and Lyon was condemned in November of 2010 due to falling brick and roof problems that we simply don’t have the budget to repair,” said Sean Major, member and former president of the Hannibal Community Theatre Board of Directors.
    “With that we have become, essentially, a ‘homeless troupe.’ We have performed productions at the Star Theater and even at the Mark Twain Museum since then,” Major said, “and even more recently - in fall of 2011 - have partnered with St. John’s Lutheran School and are using that as a temporary ‘home.’ We hope to be able to find a permanent home sometime in the future.
    Until that opportunity arrives, we will be performing most of our productions at the St. John’s Lutheran School Gymnasium.”
    The HCT also is seeking new members, both for the acting cast and behind the scenes, according to Major.
    The next play will be “Only An Orphan Girl.” Two weekends of performances are scheduled, Friday through Sunday, at the Lutheran gymnasium. They will be on Nov. 30 through Dec. 2 and Dec. 7 to Dec. 9. Curtain times will be announced.
    Auditions will be at 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 22, and Tuesday, Oct. 23, at the Hannibal Arts Council, 105 S. Main St. “There are roles for three men, ages 18 and older, and five women, age 10 and up,” Major said.
    He described the play as “a melodrama about a traveling acting troupe and an orphan girl,” adding it is a “typical ‘I can’t pay the rent’ scenario, with a bit of a twist.”
    Anyone interested in acting in a play is welcome to audition, Major said. “We encourage people to come and try out, if somebody has never done anything before or if they are a seasoned or experienced actor. And we don’t need just actors, we need stagehands  and tech hands.”
    Major noted that the HCT “has been around since 1978, and we have had many ups and downs over the past 34 years of our existence. However, right now we are in a very ‘down time,’ with involvement with HCT being at a very comparative low in number with people auditioning and getting involved with our productions, to even the audience numbers remaining relatively low.
    “This is a phenomenon that is not just isolated to HCT,” Major said. “Many live performing art organizations are struggling nationwide, and even in our own area.
    Page 2 of 2 - “Another aspect that has effected our activities is that some long standing members of our board and theatre family have decided to step down and/or away from their involvement, some of which have been very actively involved, literally, since the very beginning of HCT’s existence,” he continued. “With that we have less manpower with the much-needed time and drive to accomplish things that are essential for our continuation and success. We have many people that are passionate about the theater, but due to priorities they just can’t dedicate the time needed to make many things as successful as they could be.
    “With the combination of losing our own venue that we had been in for 10 years, the economy and general involvement being down and even competing with the modern digital age of cheap, on demand entertainment, we are struggling as a live theater  performance group.
    “Over the 34 years we have had, literally, hundreds of people on stage or back stage bringing very memorable live productions to the thousands of people that have sat in the audience and laughed, cried and just generally enjoyed the experience that only a live stage performance can bring.”
    The upcoming play will be the theater’s third event this year, Major said. In April it presented “Pilots of the Purple Twilight,” in observance of “the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.”
    A children’s acting workshop was hosted in July. “It was a success, and we plan on doing it again next summer,” he said. “We also plan on doing a big-name production in early summer or late spring, to be announced.”
    And prior to the new play beginning Nov. 30, the HCT will host a Trivia Night on Nov. 3, also at the Lutheran gymnasium. Details will be announced later.
    New officers of the board of directors are Jim Dewey, president; Steve Boltinghouse, vice president; Becky Hellige, treasurer; and Dawn Koenig, secretary.
    Additional board members are Sean Major, Wendy Bray, Michelle Smith, Shana Major and Jenny Bray.
    For more information about becoming involved in the HCT, call (573) 246-0127.
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