Next summer the Weston Playhouse Theatre Company will celebrate its 80th season. One of the things the company is doing to recognize that milestone is a pre-season education series for theater-goers.
Man of La Mancha, the musical adaptation of Don Quixote, kicks off this summer’s 80th anniversary season at the Weston Playhouse. If that’s something you wish you knew a little more about before going to see the show, you’re in luck. Man of La Mancha is also the subject of the first session of Weston 101 – a series of classes on the plays being staged in Weston this summer.
Weston Playhouse Artistic Director Steve Stettler is leading the classes. He explained, "We’re advertising the fact that there’s no homework and no tests and no grades. We will, however, have a lot of resources online for people who want to read more, either before the class, or afterward, or in anticipation of the production."
The hour-and-a-half long sessions will be held every two weeks, beginning in February. The classes will take place at Burr and Burton Academy, in Manchester. And Weston Education Director Piper Goodeve says they will also be live-streamed for theater patrons who may not spend their winters in Vermont.
"That would allow our patrons in, say, Florida to be in the comfort of their own home and log in and be able to be a part of the community that they enjoy in the summer," says Goodeve.
Each session will include an introduction to the play and playwrights, as well as a reading and discussion. And, Artistic Director Steve Stettler says, special guests.
"I plan to have at least one guest artist from each of the shows, available either live or via, probably, Skype," says Stettler. "So, it may be a technical three-ring circus but we think it should all work and is a wonderful way to bring people together."
There is a fee to participate. You can sign up for individual sessions or the entire series through the Weston Playhouse website. And Stettler says Weston 101 participants will be invited to a special event this summer.
"Everybody who’s participated, whether they take a single class or the entire series, will be invited to a talkback following our first production of the summer which is going to be Man of LaMancha starring Treat Williams," says Stettler. "And we’ll have a post-show discussion with the artists and then an invitational, private backstage tour for the members of the class."
Education Director Piper Goodeve says Weston 101 is part of a larger effort to focus on year-round programming at the Weston Playhouse. She explains, "As the theater is moving forward with becoming a year-round artistic home for southern Vermont the more programing that we can start to find to run year-round, the better. And this is just our first dip in the water for programming like that."
In addition to Man of La Mancha, Weston 101 will offer sessions on the plays Forever, Round and Round the Garden, Mamma Mia!, Murder for Two and All My Sons.