Well, activities at The Meadow Amphitheatre from my point of view are non-existent in terms of programming. This year I have decided that I need to focus my attention on rebuilding my vehicles and tending to other business. Part of that is to continue building my mobile workshop, my tool truck and the camper (all of which we need to support the activities at the stage). I do intend on producing a version of "The Gnomes of New Hope" which is designed to be presented at the stage.
My expectation and goal is to build a mobile stage that matches the stage in Tamanend Park. This will allow us (and anyone else who develops a good program) to tour the show to other parks and communities in the area.
For the past six years we have spend every weekend working at the stage and this year things will change for me in that regard. I will make myself available to people wanting to produce programs, but I will not be initiating anything this year because I am too busy with other business. I am also trying to set up a scene shop on the Industrial Highway behind my current office.
For those of you who know Gian, you will be happy to hear that he is taking charge of making sure we find the time to effect repairs on the stage and so I will be taking his lead in terms of that. He has been a huge help in keeping the stage in good repair.
Some of you may now that Paul Radsivich, the Director of Tamanend Park has left his position. This means that there is no Park Director at this time, and so this effects what we are able to do. However we will continue to pursue development of the stage, but this year it is more in the background as we try to rebuild the stage into a low maintenance facility.
One of the issues in that past has been vandalism and we think that building it out of stone will dissuade this from happening to a large extent. At least it will be more difficult to intentionally damage.
Yesterday, I spoke to the Public Works Department in Southampton and we talked about keeping the stage groomed and looking nice, so that it does not look abandoned. Frank thought this was a good idea.
In past years, I spent every Saturday mowing the field in preparation for "Cinema Under the Stars". I will not be doing that this year, because I have already committed my Saturdays to vehicular repairs & maintenance and (as it stands now) we are not presenting films this year. If someone wants to take up the duties of helping to keep the stage groomed, let me know. We have two mowers which can be used for this. Even thought the Public works mows around the stage, the backstage areas need to be weed-wacked or mowed.
Our effort now is to plan out the reconstruction in stone. As I have mentioned, the Boy Scouts have expressed an interest in this as a project for the kids. We are working to outline a basic budget so as to have an idea of what it will cost and the work that needs to be done. We are discussing the method of putting in a foundation and building the perimeter in cinder-block, filling it in with stone and then laying down a flagstone surface. We are working on a budget for that so we can propose this to the necessary funding agencies. Since this is a project for the community, then both the community and the government will need to provide the funding to do this. We can begin to gather 5the supplies if anyone wants to help with this and we will need people to lend their voice to networking to make this happen.
Our shop space in the Barn
In addition to rebuilding the stage, the backdrop frame will need to be set in concrete and this will allow the functionality of it to be expanded. We have envisioned making a second level to the stage over the backdrop. Our main issue with that is trying to figure out how to prevent kids from climbing up there if we do that. Our thinking is that the second level would be modular and only installed when it is needed.
In addition to those modifications, we were working on installing a trolley system for backdrops and the issues that slows that down is the long term durability of the stage. If the stage is not constructed to endure, then it is not worth the effort to refine the facility to service more extensive programming.
Last year I attempted to produce a program of Gilbert & Sullivan. Three times we got rained out and I had a very difficult time of finding an indoor back-up location. It became clear that there must be an indoor facility to back-up the outdoor stage. There is simply too much work and cost involved to have it wiped out by foul weather which can crop up on short notice. So this is a problem which needs to be solved.
Some time ago, Commissioner Martian asked me if I thought the barn in Tamanend Park should be turned into a theatre. Of course I said yes... so that is an interesting thought.
A Performing Arts Centre?
Also we were working to produce a program of Colonial Sacred Music at the Old School Meetinghouse on the Pike and my sudden change of direction has effected that. We need local producers to take up the slack with that project, which would be a boom to the community's cultural offerings.
That's the update for now. Email me if you'd like to talk or friend me on Facebook, because I post information there too. AG