“Creativity is always a leap of faith. You’re faced with a blank page, blank easel, or an empty stage.” – Julia Cameron
With the approaching Fall season, much is changing. Kids are returning to school, the temperature is (hopefully) cooling down, and I get to start wearing scarves again! There is a natural shift in the energies in the world with each passing month, and a new season represents growth and beginnings.
This Fall at the Cloverdale Playhouse is a time for new beginnings as well. After finishing a sold-out run of “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” the contagious energy of our young acting company has been redirected to schoolwork. The “Missouri clay” on the stage floor has been repainted to black, and all at once, the theater is a blank stage again. Vacancy is one of the more exciting, and oftentimes slightly scary, states of being for artists. It is eerily silent, and simultaneously bellowing with possibility, risk, fear, and hope. You begin with a blank page, an empty space, and you must fill it with something new. We wait for inspiration, and then for the courage to leap, willing that net to appear.
Our first step into our Fall season is the staged reading of a new play, “The Lemonade Stand,” which was the winner of our annual Page to Stage playwriting contest. What began with a handful of entries a few years ago has grown to almost 200 entries this year from all over the world. We spent weeks reading piles of plays by writers who created new, untold stories out of thin air and sheer imagination. Now, it is our job to bring one of those stories to life, to fill our empty stage and audience with people to share this story for the first time.
We also begin our next production this month! We’ve held auditions for Dead Man’s Cell Phone , Sarah Ruhl’s award-winning play about a woman who answers a deceased stranger’s ringing cell phone and begins a journey to uncover the mysteries of his life and her own. Starting rehearsals for a new play creates great excitement and anticipation! The costume racks rotate from one world’s look to the next. The stage transforms to an entirely different location from the one we walked into the month before. We invite new faces into our hallways, we make new discoveries, and we work together to create a new experience for our audiences and ourselves.
We also form new connections, meet new people, and collaborate in new ways. This September, the Playhouse is teaming up for the first time with members of the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra to create a new event for our space: “An Evening of Words and Music”. We will share beautiful compositions of music and writings, bringing members of our two artistic communities together under one roof for the first time, showcasing how much talent there is in our area, and rejoicing in how exciting it is that we can work together to make something new.
Our blank stage is ready and waiting, there are songs to be played and stories to be told. Come join us! It’s a new season filled with new adventures. Our pews are eager to be filled. We will save you a seat!
Sarah Walker Thornton is the Artistic Director of the Cloverdale Playhouse, who walks like a New Yorker and waves like an Alabama girl. She is a product of a Montgomery arts education, with several years of life in NYC thrown in for extra flavor.