Craving something both classic and fresh, charming for both kids and adults? Would you or your family like to get involved in the ﬁne arts? You needn’t look any further than Newtown and the performing arts company that has been delighting its audiences for over 30 years.
Excellent theater is hard to ﬁnd, and the Newtown Arts Company produces just that. The company cultivates dazzling theater with the help of talented people from the Newtown area; strengthening the sense of community felt with each performance. This past week, I talked with Nancy Pickering, vice president of the company, about just how that community came about and what its mission is today.
The Newtown Arts Company came together in 1983 when a production of the show Sweet Land was performed to celebrate the 300th anniversary of Newtown. Those involved were so enlivened by the show that they decided to keep acting. Thus, the non-proﬁt organization was formed.
Today, the company seeks to support the performing arts amongst both adults and children. Ms. Pickering says that they hope to bring theater’s “historic aspect” to the people of the area. Performances are held at the Newtown Theatre, a building that has been a ﬁxture in Newtown since 1831. There are about six shows produced per year, and a new brick is placed in front of the building for each show.
The performing aspect of the company is very much focused on local actors, and those who participate can expect to rehearse three to four times a week, with the additional cast party, of course. Jim Banar plays a key role in the acting process, as he directs and performs in many of the company’s shows. The performances of recent years have included shows such as The Sound of Music, Meet Me in St. Louis, The Importance of Being Earnest, and A Christmas Carol, among others. Both plays and musicals are welcome on the stage.
For children interested in the performing arts, the Newtown Arts Company has two notable programs: Classics for Kids, a two-week training program that occurs at the beginning of the year, and Stars of Tomorrow, a one-week summer camp for kids who are just beginning in their performing endeavors. Each year, the company also grants scholarships to high school seniors who will be attending school for performing or ﬁne arts instruction.
The Newtown Arts Company has also worked with the theater community in England, sending groups abroad for an international theater experience and receiving groups from England to study in the United States.
Stars of Tomorrow Program
The organization has been exceedingly successful in their mission to show the public the immense value of theater. Go to one of their shows, and you’ll see a packed house laughing, crying, or applauding. Because of the passion and hard work given throughout the years, the Newtown Arts Company has remained—and will undoubtedly remain in the future—a key part of the Newtown family.