St. Michael Couple Starts Community Theater Program
The nonprofit, community-run organization SOAR just recently launched and will soon be casting for this summer's production of Willy Wonka.
St. Michael-Albertville may seem to offer a surplus of activities and events for youth and families in the community, but when St. Michael couple Terry and Ellen Beaudry noticed the lack of community theater, they didn't sit back and wait for it, or worse, complain. They took matters into their own hands and decided to start their own organization.
They started the organization SOAR Arts [St. Michael, Otsego, Albertville and Rogers]. With hopes of one day being a regional art center, the group has hit the ground running this spring with plans to bring a full community production to stage in July.
"I've notived over the years that there are a few options for drama for youth, but nothing for the entire community," Terry said last week.
In addition to Terry and Ellen, who are parents to four young boys, there are five other board members involved in SOAR. Jamie Cassidy of Otsego, Ingrid Moss of Rogers, John MacIntire of Otsego, Jamie Reznick and Jen Beaudry have all lended their talents.
While the group is kicking off their organization with community theater they have a vision much larger.
"I've always seen this as an institution," Terry said. "I envision having our own building that would be a regional arts center for recitals and lessons and even an art gallery."
In the meantime the group is working on securing funding for their first community theater project.
Community theater by definition includes the community so for their first upcoming production, "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory," they are recruiting people from kids ages 7 and up all the way to "grandmas and grandpas", Terry said.
"There's a lot of opportunity and parts in this particular production so we hope to have a broad range of ages and abilities," he said.
So far about $15,000 of their $40,000 needed has been raised through sponsors like Wright Hennepin Electric, Eye West and community Lions groups.
While it may seem they are just getting going with auditions beginning next week, really the behind the scenes work has been happening for months, maybe even years.
What sets the group apart from other theater programs is the professional characters involved. "All of the production staff are heavily qualified. Every element of the stage has their own role," Terry said.
Auditions begin next weekend, May 5 and 6, for the upcoming production of Willy Wonka. SOAR is currently accepting online registrations for all roles and they are looking for people with and without experience. All rehearsals and productions will take place at the St. Michael-Albertville High School.
"We don't want it to be intimidating," Terry said. "Kids can come and try out and just sing what they know."
In the end, the group wants to "create an experience for everyone in the area."
For more information or to register for an audition visit their website at: http://www.soararts.com.
Willy Wonka opens on July 27 at the St. Michael-Albertville High School