Camden’s living theatre laboratory
By: Staff 08/01/2007
“There’s something for everyone” is one of the more overused catch phrases in community and cultural offerings. But for Workhouse Theatre Company (WTC), it’s more than an empty catchphrase, it’s a mission.
Since its inception in 2003, one WTC goal has been to promote the transformative nature of theatre. With a long-term goal of contributing to the overall livability of the Camden neighborhoods, founder and Artistic Director Jeff Redman understood that to succeed in building a Camden theatre company you need to reach out to every corner of the community. “To truly transform not just individuals, but the greater neighborhood, it’s necessary to make everybody a stakeholder,” says company member Dan Hylton. “Jeff got that, so he has never been content to only reach out to the Camden residents that are regular theatre-goers.” WTC continually creates new opportunities for those who want to experience and experiment with the art of theatre.
Are you more of a History Channel fan than A&E? Catch Workhouse Theatre on September 29 during Heritage Days at the Kroening Interpretive Center, as they inform, educate and entertain for the third year in a row at the Mississippi festival. Are you a hurried and harried parent of grade schoolers with no time to get out and do things on your own? Enroll your kids for Act Out(doors)!, a WTC and Three Rivers Park District cooperative effort, bringing a week-long nature-themed acting camp to Kroening Interpretive Center from August 6-10. Perhaps you only get out in the neighborhood for the Holiday on 44th Celebration. In that case don’t miss WTC’s much-anticipated follow-up to last year’s joyful presentation of scenes from Charles Dickens’ classic, <i>A Christmas Carol. </i>
WTC also strives to reach its goal through theatre education classes. The classes attract those who aspire to be actively involved in the theatre (two of the five company members “came up” through these classes) to those who simply wish to gain more confidence in public speaking. WTC acting and improv classes have been a staple in Patrick Henry’s slate of community education offerings through recent years. The classes have reached over 200 people from the community in addition to bringing students from other metro neighborhoods into Camden and into personal contact with the transformative nature of theatre.
There really is something for everyone at WTC. To support the mission of the company, this summer and fall WTC is working to create a Community Advisory Board (CAB) made up of Camden residents who have a desire to be a part of theatre and increase the livability of their neighborhood. This is a way for residents who may want to be involved with the company, but don’t necessarily want to act or sew costumes. The CAB is every bit as important in building the theatre especially as they become a 501(c)(3). The CAB will work closely with the company and help develop outreach programs, education offerings, children’s theatre programs, and will represent the richness of Camden and the Northside. To be a part of the CAB contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 612-237-2014. For general info visit www.workhousetheatre.org