Theatre in the park…at last

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William Shakespeare will make himself at home on the Keizer Rotary Amphtheatre stage in July when Keizer Homegrown Theatre brings his MacBeth to life.

Keizer resident and Western Oregon University graduate Evan Christopher and Linda Baker, former drama instructor at McNary High School, founded Keizer Homegrown Theatre earlier this year. A community theatre company has been Baker’s dream for many years, and with Christopher as a partner, that vision is bearing fruit.

A cast of more than 25 actors from Keizer, Salem and the region have been assembled and are under rehearsals, working to bring one of literature’s greatest plays to our community. The cast is diverse, comprised of people with a love of theatre and performing.

In the past few years the amphitheatre has been used for concerts (mostly rock and roll), it will now be able to live up to its potential of being the cultural heart of Keizer. MacBeth, and future Homegrown Theatre productions will be free to the public; it will be one less reason for people to say there’s nothing to do in town.

It’s a testament to the thirst our region has for theatre and performance art. There were many people who auditioned for the upcoming play and in true Keizer style, director Evan Christopher was able to find roles for all. That’s the influence of Linda Baker who never met a stage space she couldn’t fill with one more person.

We agree with those who believe plays in the park will draw visitors from outside Keizer; there are no other plays (Shakespeare or otherwise) being staged in parks anywhere around here.

The four performances of MacBeth, scheduled for Wednesday-Saturday, July 25-28, can be an opportunity for some food businesses. Local grocery stores and eateries can create dinner boxes, perfect for dining on a balmy summer evening enjoying some of the world’s greatest written words.

Keizer needs to put its famous generosity to work here and make financial donations to assure the health of this fledgling theatre company for this summer’s production and into the future. There is no reason to believe Keizer Homegrown Theatre won’t be staging plays at Keizer Rapids Park for years. With the arts taking budgetary hits in our schools, free community theatre is a great way to introduce kids to live entertainment that doesn’t rely on explosions or aliens for its fireworks.

Residents who want to foster live community theatre by making financial and other donations can contact Linda Baker at  linda@khtheatre.org and Evan Christopher at evan@khtheatre.org.

—LAZ

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