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Friday, 27 January 2012 10:57

K’zoo theater gains access to talent under new equity status

Written by  Stephanie Allen
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K’zoo theater gains access to talent under new equity status Courtesy photo
KALAMAZOO — Farmers Alley Theatre became Southwest Michigan’s only year-round Actors’ Equity Association theater on Jan. 12 after it achieved Small Professional Theatre (SPT) status.

Earning the status gives the professional theater more standing room in the union, which represents live theatrical performers and gives them more opportunities to expand their talent within West Michigan.

“It’s a big honor,” Executive Director Adam Weiner said. “It gives us more of a reach to the members of the association.”

It also gives actors the choice to earn points toward their equity card and to enter into the Equity Membership Candidate Program that leads to more work and recognition within the business.

Achieving Equity status has been a goal since the theater’s opening in the fall of 2008. It reached it much sooner than planned because of its continued success.

The equity union is helping the organization slowly transition into the full process of operating as a SPT.

“We’re able to slowly get our feet wet, without just jumping right into the deep end of the pool,” Weiner said.

Weiner said the location in downtown Kalamazoo sets the group apart from other theaters because of the “wonderful arts scene.”

He said the theater acts as a companion to young actors and students from the Kalamazoo College and Western Michigan University theater programs.

Although Farmers Alley will have more access to professional union actors, Weiner said it will most likely continue to operate at about the same union-actor level as in previous productions, providing a professional place for new talent to perform.

The theater recently leased the former Brown & Brown Recording Studio – located across the street on Farmers Alley – and plans to use it for storage. The large space doubles as a rehearsal studio, which reduces wear on the main stage and provides some freedom for the creative set builders to work, Weiner said.

The small theater only has one stage and 100 seats, allowing it to present each show in a more intimate way. Weiner said it is expecting to grow as a business from the SPT status, but there are no plans for seating expansion, just that “we are growing and we are excited for the future.”

Read 3141 times Last modified on Monday, 13 August 2012 12:33

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