Express Yourself: The value of community theatre

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By Anita Ahuja, Winters Theatre Company
Special to the Express

The performing arts play a vital role in the life of a community. They provide opportunities for artistic expression for children, youth and adults and impact academic performance as well. They help people smile, laugh and heal especially when times are tough. The challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic have had a tremendous impact on local and regional community theatre.

In March of 2020, the Winters Theatre Company (WTC) was preparing to open its Spring production of The Miracle Worker. Four hours before opening night, the show was cancelled due to the devastating infection rate of the coronavirus and the new County and State orders.

Nineteen months later, WTC is counting down the time to the safe re-opening of the show in the Spring. Although the children in the cast are taller and some are speaking with more mature voices, the cast has dedicated themselves to monthly Zoom rehearsals in order to bring the story of Helen Keller to life for the Winters community. The show will be presented with all COVID precautions in place.

WTC regularly contributes proceeds from productions to the local schools, library, music boosters and different senior citizen groups. We also donate money for critical urgent needs. We donated $1,000 to the fire victims through the Rotary Club fundraiser last year. For our larger productions, we make the “First Saturday” show available to local groups as a fundraiser. We only ask them to cover royalties charged by the publisher. During the pandemic, these contributions were put on hold.

As part of our commitment to the enrichment of the Winters community, WTC will be making contributions to several local organizations next week to help them recover from the economic impact of the pandemic. We believe we are all connected in our mission to serve our community and hope that our humble contributions will make a difference as we work together to move forward and bring our piece of the performing arts back to our beautiful city and the Yolo County region.

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