Repertory Theatre: Running two different shows at the same time, at the same venue, in two spaces.
In 2011, we added a smaller performance space to our already small theatre. We converted our Gallery space, (which was designed to showcase our many newspaper covers, reviews, photos, and history...but in actuality became the dumping ground for all of our extra theatre crap). We built a small stage, brought in 31 folding chairs, a small lighting and sound system and Voila! We created a new space for our smaller, edgier, independent, and let's face it, less attended shows.
We opened with "Bug", a dark, drug addled play written by Tracy Letts and led by guest director, the courageous Kirsten Clapp. This show riveted people to their seats and, because of the close proximity to the action, it thrust the unsuspecting audience into the tiny motel room where the play takes place. I distinctly remember an audience member say while leaving "...I feel like I just survived a plane crash!". I loved it, and our new "Little but fierce" Gallerie Theatre was born.
Since then, we have produced Classics (Prometheus Bound, Don Juan in Hell), Comedies (An Evening with Mr. Johnson, Big Baby), our trademark Edgy fare (The Goat or Who is Sylvia?), and even squeezed in a two person Musical (The Last Five Years). I am proud of this space and also happy to have the extra revenue it brings in.
Now, we have little down time between shows, because we can now perform plays while rehearsing others on our larger Mainstage. This has caused me to become very creative with scheduling. Just the other night, while rehearsing our upcoming high energy musical "9 to 5" on the Mainstage, we were also having a pick up rehearsal for the now playing "Big Baby" in the Gallerie. We could hear each other, and every few minutes, there was a distraction as the rehearsals powered on.
This is the reason we can't have nice things, ie; a Repertory theatre. It would be impossible to give these two very different spaces the separation and attention if we utilized them at the same time.
So, our little journey continues. Maybe someday we will be able to afford to soundproof one or both of the spaces, but for now we just guerilla along, powering through seemingly impossible walls with our awesomeness. And, although not always easy, I don't think I'd have it any other way.