Collaborative Theatre Project Thriving in Medford
The Collaborative Theatre Project opened its doors in The Medford Center back in November 2016 with the production of a new musical, The Snow Queen. Ever since the company has been steadily growing its audience base by providing Medford with quality local theater.
We recently had the chance to ask Susan Aversa–Orrego, one of CTP’s founding members, a few questions.
What motivated your group to open a non-profit theater company here in Medford?
We founded the company in Medford because we believed that there was a need for additional live performances in the Medford area. Our board members live throughout the Rogue Valley. When we decided to begin this company, we wanted to be a part of a growing community where there would be a new and exciting opportunity.
All of us realized we wanted more opportunities for actors, directors and technical people to develop and grow their craft and skill sets. My personal background includes teaching theatre at a college level, working as a theatre/opera/ballet critic in the San Francisco Bay Area. I began in the design field and worked on my Masters in Directing and Playwriting. Pam Ward, who is a board member, records audiobooks and has been a strong presence in the local theatre community. Daniel Sessions Stephens has joined us to organize (with Pam) and present Radio Shows – an exciting new offering for the area.
With all of the electronic devices taking more and more time away from meaningful communication, we know that live theatre connects and builds community more than almost any other art form. It’s a way we share an experience and generate conversation.
Tell us a little about CTP…what you offer and where you see the company heading:
CTP is a 90-seat, live theatre company that is excited to present new works and a new take on old classics for the community. We specialize in musicals that are not normally presented in this area, but are thought provoking and beautifully constructed. We love the classics and have done a few Tennessee Williams’ pieces. However, we’re equally at home with recently written scripts and take the time to look for shows that have heart and style. As we grow our audience, we intend to offer more events that may not be commercially attractive, but are important theatrical works that we wish to share. For example, there is an incredible Paula Vogel script, How I Learned to Drive, which deals with abuse. We are including works like that in our Women’s Voices Play Reading Program, which will kick off this year with the support of Gwen Overland. First up will be Lauren Gunderson’s Revolutionists – an incredible look at four women caught up in the French Revolution. The reading series allows us the latitude to do newer, edgier works and present them to the public, while our mainstage productions are geared to a general audience. It’s a win-win because we can offer a wide variety of theatrical works throughout the season.
Describe the experience you provide for your audience:
We know that our patrons are surprised the first time they enter the theatre. From the outside, it looks like a long hallway and it’s hard to imagine that there is actually a theatre inside. But it opens up to a lovely, comfortable black box theatre with intimate seating. Because we have the long hallway, we’ve been able to create a gallery entrance to showcase the work of local artists. Artists interested in being featured during the run of a production can contact us and we will be happy to match the art to a production. We have had artists that have sold quite a bit of their work, and we are truly excited about offering this opportunity.
In addition to the monthly productions, does the theater offer any additional events?
We have a Saturday Series, which is geared for young children as a first theatrical experience. The shows are scheduled for Saturday mornings and are a great way to encourage youngsters to participate and communicate during and after the show. They run about 45 minutes so are perfect for the very young.
We also do an annual Theatre in the Park production which is free to residents and is run through Medford Department of Parks and Recreation. This is also a great family-friendly event and is a perfect way to picnic in the park and enjoy a show.
The theater is located at 555 Medford Center here in Medford. For tickets, or to learn more about CTP please call 541 779-1055, or see them online at ctpmedford.org