The show goes on for the Winters Theatre Company

Helen Keller (Lilac Buckser) learns the word for water from her teacher Annie Sullivan (Alexis Velasquez). (Courtesy photo)

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For centuries, people have gone to theater for entertainment. From comedy to drama and everything in between, the performing arts is an age-old tradition the Winters Theatre Company will carry on with their upcoming presentation of The Miracle Worker.

The curtains opened for the WTC in 1980 at the Winters Community Center. WTC president Jesse Akers recalled the dirt floors in the kitchen and restrooms without divider walls – all characteristics of vintage Winters charm. Over the years WTC has thrived through challenges, however, COVID has proven to be the biggest one yet.

“I was directing the Miracle Worker – the Helen Keller story – on March 13, 2020. The set was built, the costumes were on, food was in the kitchen and the tables were set. At 2:30 p.m. on opening day, we had to cancel and we never got that show done,” Akers said recalling the pandemic’s initial impact. “COVID caused problems left and right, so we started doing Zoom read-throughs once a month with the cast.”

A pandemic wasn’t enough to break apart the cast nor dampen the resolve of the WTC, because in April and May, The Miracle Worker will finally see the stage. With the prolonged intermission, however, the young girl cast as the lead role may have grown eight inches.

“Basically, it would be the clearing of COVID and we can go back to being people again,” Akers said about what resuming the show means to him. “It’ll be great because the show itself has a great cast and we’ve put a lot of effort into it. The costumes are done by our local costume designer, and the lighting, sound and music are ready to go. After just sitting and drumming our fingers, it’ll be great to get it done and I’m sure the audience will enjoy it.”

Beyond providing the town wholesome entertainment, the WTC also donates its proceeds to local organizations. Taking only enough to pay for costumes and expenses, the theatric organization does an award-winning job at being a nonprofit.

“We’ve made the paper before because we were sending out money. We donate to groups like the senior citizens, (Winters) Music Boosters, (Winters) Friends of the Library, and the Ministerial Alliance,” Akers explained. “We were bringing in two to three hundred dollars a night, and we do that for nine shows. So, that’s a lot of money we’d raise to donate.”

‘The Miracle Worker’ show dates are scheduled for April 29, 30 and May 1. Followed by May 6, 7, 8 and 13, 14, 15. On the horizon, WTC intends on showing Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as well as The Sound of Music.

Akers also lauded the support the WTC’s received from Mayor Wade Cowan, as well as the Winters City Council.

For more information about upcoming shows, to purchase tickets or make donations, visit www.
winterstheatre.org.

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