Southwest Wake News

March 24, 2014

A community theater group for Fuquay-Varina?

The owner of Stars Theater & Arts Center hopes to start a theater troupe in town that could regularly put on shows.

While the visual arts scene is flourishing in town, opportunities for local adult thespians are few.

Cindy Verian, who owns the Stars Theater & Arts Center in Fuquay-Varina, wants to change that.

Verian hopes to create a community theater group, and she is hosting a meeting on April 3 to gauge community interest. The group would need volunteers on stage and behind the scenes.

Since opening Stars Theater in 2012, Verian has produced about two shows a year such as “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” and “The Unintentional Comedy of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow” with a small group of actors, students and backstage crew members.

The shows are time-consuming and expensive, which limits the number Verian can put on each year.

“It kills me,” she said. “After each show I say, ‘I will never do another show.’ ”

Verian figured she needs to build a community theater group or halt her efforts.

With a group in place, she would like to put on a performance of “Steel Magnolias” in the fall, along with three other shows in the 2014-15 season.

“Almost every day an adult comes in and asks, ‘Do you have any shows I can be in?’ ” Verian said. “We have a lot of parents of students who (want) to be on stage.”

Students have more options than older people, Verian said. She would like to offer adult drama classes.

Fuquay-Varina High School hosts theater performances, and Stars Theater hosts some plays and murder mysteries. But other than that, residents must go to Apex, Cary or Raleigh to watch a show.

Efforts are underway to open a Fuquay-Varina Cultural Arts Center. Fundraising efforts hope to pay for about $10 million to $12 million in renovations to a warehouse to house the center.

But for an arts center to thrive, it would need the support of groups like a community theater troupe, according to a study by a consultant hired by the town.

In the meantime, a theater group could help build momentum and grow roots at Stars Theater.

“It’s so sporadic. It would be nice to get a schedule and show people this is what we have coming up for the next year,” said Melanie Higgins, who works at Stars Theater. “So people have something to look forward to.”

Higgins said the theater is looking for actors, set designers, construction crew, costumers, fundraisers and marketing volunteers.

“We are definitely willing to train people with no stage experience,” Higgins said.

Fundraising will be a big part of the future of the community group to pay for the cost of producing shows, Verian said.

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