Collaborative Theatre Project
Tucked away inside the Medford Center, amongst the bustle of eateries and some shopping outlets, there can be found the Collaborative Theatre Project (CTP). A cozy little start-up co-founded by Susan Aversa-Orrego, owner of the Yogurt Hut, Obed Medina, an Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) veteran, and local actor Pam Ward. This local gem features a 90-seat theatre, done up in the immersive Black Box style, as well as a competent team to accompany it.
The new arts center, although half-covered by construction at the moment, has hosted some well renowned local directors over the last six months. Guest directors such as Rick Robinson, the Oregon Cabaret Theatre managing director, who headed Ken Ludwig’s Leading Ladie in April of this year, and OSF actor Russell Lloyd, who guided The Eccentricities of a Nightingale just last month, will be joined by Rebecca Campbell, currently directing Bonnie and Clyde, and Paul Jones who will oversee The Woman in Black leading into Halloween.
Upon entering CTP, similar to leading lines in a photo, is a long hallway that moves the onlookers to their seats. This path is covered with art that is utilized to create an ambiance similar to that experienced when viewing the production. For the upcoming showing of Bonnie and Clyde: A New Musical CTP has chosen to display local artist Karen Rycheck. Her rustic style and uniquely arranged pieces are conducive to what CTP is producing in their Depression-era show. The hallway is effective in creating the feeling that observers are now somehow transported back to the days of the great depression, the setting for Bonnie and Clyde, when things seemed to be bleak and colored with dust. Rycheck’s mosaics are primarily in the brown/beige tones, a color palette that is utilized by Bonnie and Clyde set designer Kelsey Garrett. This front hall is always decorated with art from local sources.
Bonnie and Clyde: A New Musical, boasts a cast of 15 individuals. One of which is David King Gabriel, a well-known actor/singer who frequently stars in musical productions at Camelot Theatre. Gabriel, who plays the preacher, leads the ensemble for the four leads: Grace Petes (Bonnie); Eoghan McDowell (Clyde); Sabrina Hebert, as Blanch; and Strand Hill as Buck.
The production team for Bonnie and Clyde consists of: sound and lighting designer Mike Kunkel; music director Karl Iverson; set designer Kelsey Garrett; costume designer Mahri Gwynn Gray; Sarah Gore, assistant director for Bonnie and Clyde and contributor to choreography; and, of course, Rebecca Campbell as the director.
Concurrent with the production of Bonnie and Clyde, which begins July 21, 2017 and continues through August 20, 2017, is Radio Days. This additional production takes the audience back in time to the days when radio was the only source of home entertainment, in which actors, assisted by live sound effects, recreated dramas and comedies with only the use of their voices. Radio Days runs Saturday afternoons at 1pm, Sunday evenings at 7pm, and follows the Bonnie and Clyde run dates. Director Pam Ward and resident stage manager Dinah Greenfield oversee the Radio Days production. Currently running on Radio Days is the World War II classic, The Canterville Ghost, based on a story by Oscar Wilde.
The end of 2017 has no shortage of theatrical productions from CTP. Along with the continuation of Radio Days, there are three more mainstage plays that are must-sees. After Bonnie and Clyde, beginning on September 14 and continuing to October 1, is Carey Scott Wilkerson’s Seven Dreams of Falling. Then, a much-anticipated Halloween special, Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black, (which was made into a film starring Daniel Radcliffe) will be playing from October 13 up to the night of Halloween itself. Closing out their first season (November 25 to December 31), is the pop/rock musical The Snow Queen which was an audience favorite last holiday season and was the very first production for CTP.
Tickets for Bonnie and Clyde, Radio Days, and for all of CTP’s plays can be found at CTPoregon.org. CTP is constantly in search of talented designers, technicians, and artists. Any and all that are interested can contact CTP either on the website mentioned above (CTPoregon.org) or through Susan Aversa-Orrego at 541-779-1055.
Sponsorship is another source of fundraising for CTP; The City of Medford Parks and Recreation, together with the Cow Creek Tribal Foundation and Lithia Motors currently sponsor CTP’s Theatre in the Parks program which will begin August 1 at Bear Creek Park. Collaborative Theatre Project is a non-profit organization and a community resource and if someone would like to sponsor a production, sponsorship benefits can be found at CTP’s website.