Josephine County Historical Society's "Passport To History" - Barnstormers Theatre - Grants Pass, Oregon
The Josephine County Historical Society's "Passport To History" program led us to the Barnstormers Theatre in Grants Pass.
Susan Russell, the Managing Director, conducted our introduction to Grants Pass live theater.
Barnstormers Theatre was started in 1952 by Mike Spooner. The name Barnstormer was chosen because in the beginning, the group performed wherever they could.
Note: In the 1920's "Barnstorming" was a popular form of entertainment where stunt pilots would perform tricks with airplanes.
In 1961 the Barnstormers were able to purchase a church building, and thus, the Barnstormers Theatre was born. Charles Vannice is the only remaining founding member.
The Barnstormers Theatre has three paid positions; Artistic Director - Daniel Grossbard, Managing Director, Susan Russell and a Business Manager. These people are paid a whopping $500 per month for the many, many hours they work. The actors, directors, stage and technical crews, office staff, etc. are all volunteers. If you ask them why, it's all because of "Love of the Craft."
Barnstormers Theatre puts on seven plays each season from September until June. They also have a youth theatre camp every summer.
A very creative circular, rotating center stage is manually operated to quickly change sets between acts.
Here we interrupt "makeup," as a group of young actors are preparing for today's production.
On the left is "Nan," the wardrobe manager.
"Wardrobe" is well organized, and can come up with costumes for any time period! Sharing is often done with other theatre groups in the valley, which enable the Barnstormers Theatre to have even greater resources when needed.
The seating is comfortable, thanks to private donations and the generosity of the Barnstormers Theatre patrons.
Susan did mention that today's seats are sure a lot wider than they were when Barnstormers acquired their building in 1961, as people today are also wider.
Reserved seating may be purchased for the season for $80. Since the Barnstormers were founded, they have produced 230 plays.
Tickets for individual performances may be purchased online or at the ticket office on-site.
Actors waiting for their entrance listen to the performance on speakers from under the stage in this waiting/prop room.
Even though all the actors are volunteers, Susan said they have no shortage of quality performers available in this very "artsy" community.
Please visit the Josephine County Historical Society's website for more information on the Passport To History program.
Below are the links to my earlier Josephine County Historical Society's Passport To History blogs.