There is something special about seeing something live, to witness great talent right there in front of you. Whether it’s a towering home run, your favorite song in a packed arena, or a professional performer hitting that beautifully pitched note. It’s magic. It moves you. It is something that many of us will spend hours in a car, bus, or train in order to experience.
Well, now you can save that gas money because Resident Theatre Company (RTC) is bringing that magic to our backyard.
Two years ago, professional theatre in downtown West Chester was little more than a dream when Kristin McLaughlin Mitchell first began to formulate this idea. She had spent more than 20 years performing and directing in NYC. Her career took her around the globe before her heart led her to settle in Chester County.
With plans already under way to renovate West Chester’s old Armory building into a state of the art theatre, Mitchell jumped at the chance to create a professional theatre company in her new hometown. Now the Knauer Performing Arts Center is almost ready to open its doors on High Street and RTC is weeks away from taking the stage for a full run of Monty Python’s Spamalot.
For many, this is filling a much-needed void in our community. “This area that has this diverse mix of families, business leaders and artists, there’s not a lot of entertainment options,” said Mark Allen, director of the Center for Performing and Fine Arts: PA Leadership Charter School.
Mark Allen is just one of a growing army of theatre lovers who share Mitchell’s dream, and that has led to a passionate base of corporate sponsors, local donors, excited board members, and tireless volunteers who have been scurrying behind the scenes to make this vision a reality.
“The excitement has been overwhelming. There are so many people here who travel to New York for theatre that would much rather have dinner in downtown West Chester and walk to the Armory to see a show without having to drive, park and pay crazy prices for tickets,” Mitchell said.
The debut of Monty Python’s Spamalot will be the culmination of a long journey, but it is hardly RTC’s only focus. Mitchell has additional plans for full seasons of plays and musicals, professional children’s theatre, and a teen outreach performance group.
In addition, The Resident Theatre Company has been hosting a monthly cabaret series called Broadway in Borough. In a relaxed setting in West Chester, BIB showcases professional singers from New York and Philly belting out everyone’s Broadway favorites. The community response has been overwhelming, and Mitchell tells us that BIB has sold out all 17 shows in West Chester.
According to RTC board member, Bob Lohrmann, that’s why live performance matters. “That’s the difference from watching it on a screen and breathing the air that the performers are actually breathing. That’s what you can’t get from a phone or an iPad or a TV. You can’t have that experience. So having an opportunity to create a live, theatrical, professional experience here is West Chester is really extraordinary,” said Lohrmann.
RTC’s production of Monty Python’s Spamalot opens it’s doors on March 31,2017 at the Knauer Performing Arts Center but you don’t have to wait until then for your theatre fix. The Resident Theatre Company is hosting their Holiday Broadway Bash on Saturday, December 17th at The Wayne Arts Center, featuring New York and Philly professional singers, and the most talked about RTC performances of the last two years. All theatre lovers are welcome. For ticket information Click Here.
Resident Theatre Company operates as a 501©(3) non profit. If you are interested in becoming a donor or would like to join RTC’s Founder’s Club please Click here for more information.