Road Trip

For the past six or eight Memorial Day weekends, my family (brother, sister, spouses) and I have made an annual pilgrimage to Stratford. I know of at least one other VP cohort who makes a similar trip over Labor Day.


That got me to wondering about the impact of seeing shows at other places. Certainly Stratford is in a class by itself, right up there with Broadway or the West End. If you haven’t gone, you really should. My first trip started with the Memorial Day jaunts and I immediately realized that I’d been missing something very special all these years.

Aside from Stratford and Manhattan, what other shows or theatres do you make it a point to visit? I have had season tickets to Stagecrafters for many years. It was my “first” community theatre, as an audience member, member and actor. Given its facility and the scale of some of its productions, Stagecrafters is recognized as a valued member of our regional arts community.

I have to confess, that despite being just a few short miles from some of our other “sister” theatres such as St. D’s, Ridgedale, Avon, Farmington, and perhaps even Grosse Pointe, I can’t recall seeing shows at any of them. I think I may have been to each venue at least once, but I really can’t remember the experience.

Should we make it a point to attend the shows put on by our nearby theatre friends? To be sure, we’ll know someone in the cast, either one of our own “gypsies,” or someone who includes VP in their theatrical orbit.

What about organizing a field trip to one or more of these neighboring shows? Perhaps starting with Stratford? If Village Players organized a “Weekend in Stratford,” would you attend? What if it was bigger? A Southeast Michigan Community Theatre Stratford Weekend?

This brings me to a dream I’ve had for a while: Finding a way for nearby theatres to formalize methods of cooperation which would strengthen all of our efforts. The concept could be as simple as sharing prop or costume inventories, something we do already on an informal basis. Or perhaps something grander: What about a “benefits sharing” program where we collaborate with nearby theatres to “share” member benefits such as discounted ticket prices? We could limit the discount to “box-office only” purchases or for VP, opening weekend ticket purchases as they tend to be our weakest sales.

I can see it now “SEMCOT:” the Southeast Michigan Community of Theatres, where we join together, form a larger parent organization, and leverage the greater numbers to share resources. And now I’m really dreaming big (drumroll please): Perhaps SEMCOT could purchase a facility where we could efficiently manage set construction, paint backdrops, store thousands of costumes, and acres of props and furniture.

Wow! That really is a Road Trip!

–Gary Mach

(Enthused about Gary’s dream? Have other ideas for SEMCOT or comments on sharing in general? Leave a comment in the Reply section below.)

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