What summer theatre means to me: how theatre shapes a community

By on July 11, 2013

by Maria Dripps-Paulson
Executive director, Kaneland Fine Arts Festival

I grew up on summer theatre.

My parents would take us to see Shakespeare plays in Spring Green, Wis., and at Illinois State University in Bloomington-Normal, Ill. Each year on vacation in northwest Michigan, we would catch the small community of Bayview’s annual summer production and watch Summer Stock performances on the campus of North Central College.

My imagination centered around the storylines of “King Lear,” “As You Like It,” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and my sister and I would rehearse musical numbers in every role of “My Fair Lady,” “South Pacific” and “The Sound of Music.”

One continual memory of mine is of the actors we would see playing different roles from
year to year on the various stages we visited. Sometimes a particular actor would have a leading role and the next summer she would be in the chorus. We would watch children become teens, directors become actors, musicians and crew return annually, and actors work on and offstage, as we continued visiting the communities with theatre. I believe it was this ongoing changing of roles, loyalty of staff and collaborating teamwork that helped shape my idea of community.

Having produced almost 14 years of the Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival (KCFAF), and now approaching the fourth production of our summer theatre performances, I have come to see how Kaneland really defines community. Years of collaborating with teachers, artists, and community members has made the KCFAF and its events a true entity and valued collaborator within the Kaneland Community. Our summer theatre productions are a true example of community, uniting actors, crew and musicians from various school districts and communities all joining on the Kaneland Auditorium stage in our love of theatre.

This year, the KCFAF will present Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s iconic musical, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” The Biblical saga of Joseph and his coat of many colors comes to vibrant life in this delightful musical parable. Set to an engaging cornucopia of musical styles, this Old Testament tale emerges both timely and timeless.

The production will take place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, July 12-14 and July 19-21, at the Kaneland Auditorium on the campus of Kaneland High School. The show will begin at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday performances and 2 p.m. on Sunday performances. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for students/senior citizens and $25 for a Family Ticket. The Family Ticket admits all family members currently living in one household. Preschoolers are free. Tickets are now on sale at www.kanelandartsfestival.org. Information regarding the Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival can be found at the KCFAF’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/kcfaf302 and the KCFAF’s www.kanelandartsfestival.org.

I hope you will join us as we continue our summer theatre in the Kaneland Community. This show is particularly appropriate for all ages. I invite you to consider making the KCFAF’s theatre production a summertime tradition for your family and friends.

Editor’s note
The above community-submitted column is one part of our broader mission to help our readers connect with their communities. If you or your organization would like to be part of our Community Corner initiative, please contact Editor Keith Beebe at kbeebe@elburnherald.com. Please note that no for-profit or elected officials are eligible to be part of the Community Corner.