New Helvetia Theatre (NHT) has found a new home at Studio Theatre, and they’re doing housewarming the right way. This week New Helvetia will be breaking in the space with Sacramento’s 1st annual New Works Festival. This festival will prove to be a large step for New Helvetia, not only providing support for potential writers for the stage but also showcasing New Helvetia’s commitment to fresh theatre.
NHT’s Producing Artistic Director Connor Mickiewicz and new staff member, Associate Producer Matthew Schneider are both thrilled about these exciting developments. They realize the many benefits that come along with having a location in the heart of downtown Sacramento, an area experiencing constant artistic growth.
“[Studio Theatre] offers us more visibility to new audiences by being in the midtown-downtown area, while still preserving the intimate theatre experience our audiences have grown to love,” says Schneider.
And New Helvetia is giving their audiences plenty to love. The Sacramento New Works Festival is underway, with one very large perk: it’s free. This theatre has long had the dream to provide Sacramento audiences with free theatre, therefore opening up the art world to anyone and everyone.
“Finding a home of our own has allowed us to realize that dream,” Schneider said.
But New Helvetia has more plans with the festival than free theatre. Lately there has been a decline in original stage work, and NHT has taken notice. Many members of the theatre industry have been pouring time and money into well-known productions, oftentimes based on movies, instead of creating new projects. NHT wants this festival to provide a platform for budding playwrights attempting to break into the world of theatre with something new and exciting to contribute.
“NHT has made a commitment to support up-and-coming writers for the stage in the hopes that we can cultivate new works for the stage,” says Schneider.
New Helvetia is fully prepared for this festival, having chosen two exciting new works to debut. They will be premiering a play entitled Schooled by Lisa Lewis and a musical entitled One Good Day with book and lyrics by Elizabeth Suggs and music by Rona Siddiqui. The development of this festival, along with these pieces, will help create and sustain the growth of original theatre in Sacramento.
With a new space to call home and projects in the works, New Helvetia Theatre is on their way to the top. They began their journey just years ago on Del Paso Boulevard and have now found their place in Downtown Sacramento, all while holding on to the importance of good, unique theatre. According to Schneider “making theatre is about building a community of support,” and with such projects as the Sacramento New Works Festival that theatre community will continue to grow.
The Sacramento New Works Festival can be seen at Studio Theatre July 26-July 29, 2012. Performances of Schooled will be Thursday and Saturday at 8pm and performances of One Good Daywill be Friday at 8pm and Saturday at 2pm. All performances are free.