Theater open house held to celebrate lives touched by the arts

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The Auburn Area Community Theatre (AACT) invited Auburn community members to its open house on Thursday night at the Jan Dempsey Art Community Arts Center.

The event was held in order to celebrate the members, donors a community members who support the AACT and help make their productions possible, as well as to unveil upcoming productions the AACT will show in the coming year.

The event featured several examples of previous performances given by member of the AACT, beginning with founding member Andrea Holliday giving a monologue from "Crafty," a play by Paul Rudnick, followed by members of the children's theatre performing "Matchmaker" from "Fiddler on the Roof," "Perfect Protocol" from "Tut, Tut!" and a scene from "Cheaper by the Dozen."

Rich Perkins, a member of the AACT's board of directors, hosted the event and spoke at length of the importance of the Theatre and its members.

"Being involved in the arts does change your life and it can really turn things around especially for younger performers and people who are trying to figure out who they are in life and what path to go down," Perkins said. "Sometimes they don't always have the best support groups, and this can be a support group and give you a positive way to express yourself and find a little direction."

Michael Sanders, a recent Auburn University graduate in the Theatre program and long-time member of the AACT, spoke about the friends he's made through the Theatre and how much of an impact being a member had on him.

"We've had so many actors and actresses come through here, and many of them have gone on to do many different things, all of them equally amazing and awesome," Sanders said. "I know for a fact that every single one of their lives have been changed and touched and positively reinforced through the work they've done here."

In about 14 years, the AACT has produced 50 plays with over one thousand people having participated either as cast, crew or volunteers.

"You learn so many great skills in community theatre like teamwork, cooperation, public speaking... we're always looking for volunteers, you can always audition for shows or help out with lights and costumes and selling tickets," said Sadie Zabawa, a member of the AACT since 2004.

Upcoming shows the AACT plans to produce are "Spamalot," "Jungle Book," "Bob: A Life in Five Acts," "Aesop's Fables" and "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)."

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