In this edition!
- Julius Caesar comes to Rock Ford
- A Message from Cynthia Charles our Board Vice President
Scroll down for each article.
•• OUR 26th YEAR ••
•• OUR 26th YEAR ••
What if George Washington had been more like Julius Caesar?
It was a time when many people wanted George Washington to be King.
What if Washington were more like Caesar?
They both were charismatic and successful generals!
They both were men bred in upper-class society!
They both had many supporters who wanted them to rule!
They both had active political ambitions and lives!
What would America be like if Washington were more like Caesar?
What would America be like today if Washington had been more like Julius Caesar and less like the Founding Father we know.
Theater of the Seventh Sister takes a fascinating and ironically contemporary look at Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” by placing it in post colonial America. Using Shakespeare’s language and story we explore a … what if … a theatrical alternative history
Thursday, September 18 & Friday, September 19,
Thursday, September 25 & Friday, September 26
Guests should bring chairs or blankets for seating on the lawn. Guests are permitted to bring snacks and non-alcoholic beverages to enjoy during the performance.
•• OUR 26th YEAR ••
A Message from Cynthia Charles Vice President of our Board of Directors. This is the third in a Series of Communications from members of our Board of Directors
Is it a fancy building, is it glitzy special effects or a set that dazzles, is it a certain director or producer, is it dinner and drinks with a show? Well it can certainly be these things, but at its essence theatre is a coming together of people for a shared experience of some universal truths that we all recognize be it in verse, contemporary speech, song, dance or pantomime. But at its heart, meaningful theater is truth under imaginary circumstances that can transport us, make us think, make us laugh or make us cry.
Theater of the Seventh Sister now beginning its 26th year, has shown us both the power and simplicity of theatre that makes a difference through our Main Stage Series, Free Shakespeare in Long’s Park, The African Grove Project, Portales: Gateway to Latino Drama, The Spoken Word Festival, Shakespeare Camp for Teens and Shakespeare Face to Face. TSS has been a true theater gypsy performing at Trinity Lutheran Church in Fondersmith Auditorium, The Rafters at Millersville University, Liberty Place, The Stahr Center, The Ware Center, Linden Hall, and Rockford Plantation and venues and schools in the tri-state area.
So TSS isn’t a building or a set season, is it Gary and Mary? Initially it was a group of seven individuals with a general membership of about 30 members. If Gary and Mary move on or step back could Theater of the Seventh Sister continue in Lancaster County? I’d like to think that she could.
How should TSS continue? Would you support her with your presence, your money or your talents?
Our Board is working to transition the theater into its newest incarnation. We would welcome your ideas and suggestions!
We hope to see you at the beautiful Rockford Plantation for Seventh Sister’s production of
Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare on September 18, 19, 25 and 26 at 7:00 pm, mark your calendars!
•• OUR 26th YEAR ••
• Seventh Sister expands our educational Shakespeare Face-to-Face!
“Until you came in I understood nothing about the play. Watching you it was impossible not to understand” … student response to Shakespeare Face-to-Face
“It was a joy to see my students excited about Shakespeare. The characters jumped off the pages of their books and entered into their minds as real people” … teacher’s response to Shakespeare Face-to-Face
“I’d even pay money for this” … student’s response to Shakespeare Face-to-Face
•• OUR 26th YEAR ••
• A Message from Bob Marquet, President of our Board of Directors. The First in a Series of Board Communications
Dear Friends of Seventh Sister,
A few of you have expressed a concern that the closing of the STAHR Center would limit the Theater’s opportunities. In direct contrast, we are pleased to report that it has opened new avenues of expression and generated a recommitment to the kind of work that has made Seventh Sister a vibrant voice in the Lancaster arts community for twenty-five years. It has also inspired deeper thoughts about the Theater’s purpose, structure, and direction.
To expedite this process we’ve more than doubled the size of our Board, and, in January, held a two-day weekend workshop led by John Moore and Imani Drayton-Hill of JOMA Arts & Consulting (a nationally recognized art’s consulting firm). This exciting work was made possible with the support from a grant from the PA Council on the Arts, and focused on identifying Seventh Sister’s core values and vision for the future.
excellence, thought provoking, connecting communities, artistic integrity, creative courage, illumination and authenticity.
We see all of you as valuable community members and are requesting your thoughts and ideas concerning these seven values.
We will continue working with JOMA toward a strategic plan for achieving our vision. Theater of the Seventh Sister will keep you informed of our ever evolving and changing 25th year transition into a more collaborative, community based, and dynamically structured organization.
Sincerely, Bob Marquet, President
••• 25 reasons to love your Sister •••
Our first show ever set the bar high. Headline read “Theater of the Seventh Sister has first triumph with Agnes” Intelligencer Journal October, 1989, by John Drybred. Pictured founding members: Erma Stauffer, Pat Lemay and Mary Adams-Smith
From free Shakespeare in Long’s Park to Rock Ford Plantation, Seventh Sister has brought the joys of Shakespeare under the stars (and moon) to over 140,000 people in the Lancaster area.
The Loman family 2005 production of “Death of a Salesman” Always searching for the best in classic theater and the next great play! Pictured: Mary Adams-Smith, Jared Price, Brian Bitner & Gary Smith
Our 2004 production of Romeo and Juliet starring Tim Riggs as Romeo, Cynthia Charles as the Nurse and Melissa Dunphy as Juliet
Since our first Shakespeare production in 1993 we have presented 28 productions of Shakespeare’s plays, and that isn’t even counting our wonderful Shakespeare Camp for Teens productions (more on that later!)
The lover’s quarrel from 1996 production at Long’s Park of “Midsummer Night’s Dream”
In 1996 we introduced our African Grove Project as part of the Minority Voices of the American Stage Series, a program dedicated to bringing the wealth of outstanding plays written by African American playwrights. Ron Lee Jones and Toni Barber from August Wilson’s “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone. ”
Whether its a stylistic challenge or plays that deal with important social issues we meet the challenge! The Joad family heads to California in Seventh Sister’s 2012 production of “The Grapes of Wrath.”
Hamlet! Oedipus! Willie Loman! Medea! Sojourner Truth! Juliet! Martin Luther King! Just a handful of the great characters (fictional and historical) that have appeared in our shows!
Brian Hutchinson as Oedipus in the 1995 production of “Oedipus Rex.”
The best actors from this area and well beyond have thrilled our audiences with memorable and stunning performances.
Pictured is 2011 Tony Award nominee Forrest McClendon as Edmund in our 2006 production of KING LEAR. Forrest is now performing in the The Scottsboro Boys in London.
In 1990 we began our signature Shakespeare Face to Face program. Since then we’ve taken it into classrooms throughout the area and far beyond. Thousands of students have discovered how contemporary, relevant and – yes – entertaining Shakespeare is! Our favorite student comment is … “I’d even pay money to see this”. Pictured: Romeo (Tim Riggs) looks on as a student from Downingtown High School dances with Juliet (StephJo Wise)
Since 1997 when it began, hundreds of teenagers have had an opportunity to study and perform in some of Shakespeare’s greatest plays as part of our summer Shakespeare Camp for Teens. Students as well as parents have raved about the value of this program. Pictured: A scene from the 2004 Shakespeare Camp for Teens production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
In 1995 we began our Winter Dance Festival. Bringing together multiple choreographers from the region, this popular event became a one of a kind celebration of dance. The Lancaster dance scene has never been the same! Pictured: Mika Cox McDougall performs the hula at the 2010 Winter Dance Festival!
Our annual Spoken Word Festival (now in its 12th year) has brought together story tellers and poets to share their love of language with grateful audiences. Pictured: Lancaster Poet Laureate, Chris Longenecker, from the 2010 Spoken Word Festival
Theater of the Seventh believes that everyone should be able to afford to go to the theater. To that end we have a long history of Pay What You Will Performances. Our most popular has been Gary Smith’s adaptation of Dickens’ much loved A Christmas Carol. Pictured: Christmas Present (Patrick Mize) and Jon Rider (Scrooge) from 2011 production of A Christmas Carol.
We love the classics! What makes us human hasn’t changed at all over all our civilized time here. Pictured: Universal soldiers march off to war. Julius Caesar, staged in 2003 on the eve of the Iraq War, powerfully combined the contemporary with ancient Rome. When the Roman Soldiers walked on stage wearing combat camouflage and roman capes the audience gasped!
Music has always been an important part of Seventh Sister; whether its been the small gem of a musical, Lies and Legends – The Musical Stories of Harry Chapin, the musical drama Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, or a seldom seen musical like Stephen Sondheim’s Pacific Overtures. Throughout our 25 seasons we’ve provided a performance venue for such diverse music groups as Wood Song, The Reese Project and The NakedEye Ensemble. Pictured: The Creature (Brian McCreary) & Frankenstein (Michael Austin) from our 22nd season’s stunning production of Frankenstein – A New Musical!
To better serve our Spanish speaking community, in 1996 we added Portales: Gateways to Latino Drama to our Minority Voices of the American Stage Series. Along with presenting original works by Hispanic playwrights, we presented the New York based award winning ensemble, Repertorio Espanol who performed works in Spanish while providing simultaneous live English translation via headset. Pictured: Sidney Leigh Allen as the title character in the 2010 production of Luis Alfaro’s Chicano take on the Greek tragedy Electra, Electricidad
Beginning with our first production Agnes of God we’ve engaged audiences in talk backs and panel discussions following our productions. Some of our most lively discussions have followed performances of The Cherry Orchard, Antigone, An Enemy of the People and The Grapes of Wrath.
One of the very best discussions followed our production of Our Town with an audience comprised of high school students and senior citizens from retirement homes sitting togehter to watch the show. Pictured: A scene from the 2005 production of Our Town with Jeff Zufelt (Stage Manager), Jill Coste (Emily) and Tim Riggs (George).
Santayana said “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. Believing that it’s up to the arts to help remind us, we do plays of social relevance and shows that help us see ourselves in what is past. Pictured: Ron Lee Jones (Father) and Ayoka Dorsey (Sojourner) in Sojourner Truth, part of our African Grove Project from 2000.
Exciting, insightful and relevant! Some of our very best work has been thought provoking plays that result in that “Aha moment”!
Pictured: Hamlet has his own “Aha moment” in our 1996 production of Hamlet with Phil Balko (the Ghost of Hamlet’s Father) and Don Mitchell (Hamlet)
A horrified Olivia (Joanna Underhill) is wooed by the misguided Malvolio (Brian Martin) in our 2003 Free Shakespeare in the Park production of Twelfth Night.
We all know how cathartic a good cry can be. There are simply those times when tears are the most authentic response to a powerful moment. We love when that happens! Pictured: One of those moments in 2013’s Eurydice between Father (Brian McCreary) and Eurydice (Victoria Rose Bonito)
To have heart can mean a lot of things – from doing your best to making an emotional connection. Whatever it is, you know it when you feel it or when you see it. At Seventh Sister chances are you’ve felt it and seen it a lot! Pictured: Two of the Mundy sisters, Maggie (Cynthia Charles) and Kate (Mary Adams-Smith) share a moment in our 1994 production of Dancing at Lughnasa
A church auditorium! A converted armory! A park band shell! We’ve made theater magic in some surprising places. Pictured: Shakespeare’s fairies and lovers meet in the forest in A Midsummer Night’s Dream; presented at Trinity Lutheran’s Fondersmith Auditorium in 2002.
Reason #25: We’re named for a star!
A view of the Seven Sisters (Pleiades).
“ … but the Seventh Sister turned
her gaze in another direction
seeking an alternative vision …”
25 Years! 25 Reasons to Love Your Sister!
25 Reasons To Support Your Sister
ONLY AT THEATER OF THE SEVENTH SISTER!
Coming to the Ware Center this Spring.
Seed of a Nation: Lancaster & Penn’s Holy Experiment
Enjoying the Lemonade!
It’s been just a little over a year since we found out we could no longer produce theater in the old Stahr Armory which we had been intending to purchase from the State. As we put all our producing plans on hold and started the massive move, it looked as though we had been handed a whole lot of lemons! However, surprisingly quickly, we began to see the upside; and frankly those lemons have now become lemonade! Since we no longer have to face the challenge of continual production in order to maintain a facility, we have rediscovered the pleasures of taking our time. In fact, after producing “Eurydice” in May (a project we were both passionate about), we’ve really been enjoying the lemonade. There’s been a little R & R, a lot of thinking, reading, and planning. So, having taken time to stop and smell the roses….(Are we getting too many cliché’s in here?)…we are almost ready to “announce” what we will be producing next! So stay tuned and know that it will be something we both really care about and that we will be approaching it revived, restored and refreshed by the magical wonders of the lemonade!
So What’s Up With Seventh Sister?
I think the god Janus is prefect for a description of where Seventh Sister has been for the past few months. Janus, for those of you who don’t realize you’ve already made his acquaintance, is that god who looks back at the passing year and simultaneously forward to the future. Yep, you guessed it January is named for him.
Well this past January certainly lived up to it’s two faced namesake. We finally finished our move out of the Stahr the end of the first week of the new year and much of the rest of the month was spent finishing up administrative details, canceling utilities and taking a much needed breath. But at the same time Seventh Sister began to look to her future. In February we started negotiating with the Ware Center for performance dates and began the “gearing up” process that will culminate in a MainStage production of Eurydice and a Sister Arts production of our Annual Spoken Word Festival.
Now here it is May, The 11th Annual Spoken Word Festival was a great success and we’re about to open Eurydice. It’s been a long winter and we’re glad it’s over. So as Spring stirs quietly and almost unseen adn the frozen ground, gives way to lush summer, so too Seventh Sister begins anew the creative process to bring you theater that touches your heart, stimulates your mind and reminds us all what a joy it is to be alive … here … right now.