By Julie Catalano :: Photography courtesy of Boerne Performing Arts
It certainly seems that way. With a wealth of talent and an outstanding lineup of performances that puts Boerne on the map year after year, there’s nothing small town about the brilliant upcoming theatrical season.
The mission statement of Boerne Performing Arts (BPA) is “Bringing the world of performing arts to Boerne” and their seventh season at the 985-seat Champion Auditorium promises to deliver in a big way. The season fittingly kicks off with Tango Fire, a hotter-than-hot dance troupe from Argentina making their Boerne debut on January 23, 2018. But the sizzle doesn’t stop there.
Known for their successful student outreach program in partnership with the Boerne Independent School District — where every third, fourth and fifth grader attends a free one-hour version of the evening performances — BPA decided to “hit another group of ‘kids’ in our community this year,” says Sue Talford, BPA Marketing and Publicity Director. Tango Fire will teach a one-hour tango class to a group of 55+ at Kronkosky Place in Boerne. “The troupe had done a couple of these in London with seniors. We won’t always have this opportunity, so we thought we’d try it here.”
On February 15, the Accordion Virtuosi of Russia will make you rethink the stereotypical squeezebox, according to BPA Artistic Director Greg Talford. “In Russia, the accordion is a highly revered instrument.” The 30-piece ensemble, formed during the siege of Leningrad during World War II, plays everything from Scott Joplin to Strauss in dazzling feats of musical prowess. “If you don’t go you won’t know,” says Greg with a twinkle.
His favorite mantra has a history. Years ago when he first proposed The Ten Tenors from Australia, a concerned resident questioned “who was going to want to listen to a bunch of men singing,” recalls Greg. Now, adds Sue, “That’s the one we get the most requests for from our adult audience.” The “Wonder from Down Under” will be making its third appearance as a special event on February 20 with Wish You Were Here, a tribute to musical legends gone but not forgotten — David Bowie, Amy Winehouse, John Lennon and more.
Rounding out the regular season on April 13, and back by popular demand, is Japanese drum group TAO with its brand new large scale drumming production, Drum Heart. “That’s the group the kids love the most,” says Sue.
“Our main goal is variety,” says Greg, “and we try to make sure we hit the entire spectrum of adults and kids.” Especially the kids. Adds Sue: “We don’t expect them all to go into the performing arts, but we hope we’re creating audiences for the future.”
For some it is a life-changing experience. BPA is entering its third year in a joint scholarship venture with Majestic Ranch Arts Foundation for high school seniors. “Last year we ended up giving three $5000 scholarships to young performers and artists who will attend universities in San Antonio, Denton and Scotland,” says Sue.
“Cordillera Ranch has been a Silver Sponsor of BPA since day one,” says Sue; board member Mary Colacurci is a Cordillera Ranch resident. “It’s such a good group of people on the board that gets everything done,” says Sue. “We think Boerne is a special town,” adds Greg. “It’s about giving back and we think that’s important. That’s something we can do.”
For ticket information, www.boerneperformingarts.com, 830.331.9079.
Commitment to Community
“We are in our 27th year and going strong,” says Christine Crowley, Executive Director of Boerne Community Theatre (BCT). That’s not an easy task for a community theatre, but BCT is no ordinary community theatre.
BCT 2018 Season
Incorruptible, January 26-February 10
Time Stands Still, March 2-10
Singin’ in the Rain, April 13-21
The Complete History of America (Abridged), May 11-26
The Hallelujah Girls, July 20-August 4
Today Crowley is especially excited about a recent performance that featured a service she calls “great and unique. It was closed-captioned, just like it is on television.” The high-tech feat was accomplished using a captioning bar hung from the back of the stage and an operator in the booth. Crowley hopes to raise the funds for more such shows. “It will bring people in who haven’t been able to come to the theatre.”
Raising BCT’s profile is a big part of Crowley’s role as Executive Director, a post she has held since September 2017 but built on a 14-year involvement with BCT. Crowley comes full circle with Incorruptible, the play she first appeared in in 2003, and is now directing for its opening on January 26.
BCT especially shines with its youth activities, headed by Youth Programs Director Patricia Hausman. There are three summer drama camps for children ages 8-13, each two week session ending with a musical; the after school program BCT Academy, which also has a showcase at the end of the semester; and the Teen Troupe for ages 13-19, with two full stage productions in the fall and spring. Crowley has nothing but praise for Hausman: “It’s stunning what she is able to get out of those kids. The youth programs have just blossomed under her leadership.”
BCT’s newest program is ACTIII@BCT – a Reader’s Theatre for ages 40 and up, aimed primarily at people “who either want to dip their toes in theatre for the first time or those who have been away from performing and want to get back in.”
Traditionally, community theatre relies heavily on community support, and BCT is no exception. “We have a co-producer for each show,” says Crowley. “For $1,500 they get their name on the poster and the publicity, and a free production of the show for their invited guests.”
The Cordillera Ranch community is also represented by two BCT board members Don Norton and Diane Treusdell, along with veteran actress Karen Hogg.
“We are always looking for ways to connect with the community,” says Crowley. “The demand for cultural activities is growing because Boerne is growing.”
For ticket information, www.boernetheatre.org, 830.249.9166.