A few days ago, I had the pleasure of meeting with John and June Clair, a Carmel couple with longtime local theater ties who have taken on a huge new project: rebuilding Carmel’s second oldest theatre company, once known as Carmel Repertory Theatre, to be known henceforth as Carmel Theatre Company (or CTC). June was the driving force behind Broad Ripple Playhouse many years ago and she and John most recently penned a musical, Andersen, the popular treatment of Hans Christian Andersen’s story which premiered in Carmel and had a subsequent run in Minneapolis a few years ago.

Last June, after some financial difficulties forced a changing of the guard at CRT, the Clairs took over producing CRT’s sponsorship of the American Association of Community Theatres’ (AACT) national competition in Carmel, AACTFest 2013, which frankly was a huge undertaking. After that endeavor, they found they were left with the remaining shell of CRT, but very little in the way of funds. Undaunted, they have decided to forge ahead and try to save the company from demise. No shows have been produced as of yet this season, but plans are in the works for the new beginning – the start of CTC.

Included in the plan is the resurrection of one of my favorite venues, Studio 15 – located at 15 First Ave NE in Carmel (across the street from the popular Woody’s/Library Restaurant). I have directed and attended quite a few shows there when it was occupied by Carmel Community Players (CCP). It is an intimate space, seating a mere 60 or so patrons, which actors have invariably enjoyed performing in. It allows audiences a closeness to the stage that is rare. I directed 5 shows in that space, all for CCP: the very first one in the building (The Glass Menagerie in 2002) and one of the final shows produced there (Art in 2008). And the Clairs have asked me to direct a soon-to-be-named show at the venue this coming spring!

The upcoming schedule provided to me by the Clairs shows two events: the first of which is Talent Extravaganza! – a local talent show which runs October 11 and 12 (next weekend!) at 7 pm at Studio 15. Admission is FREE! But, donations will be accepted as this renewed organization works to get back on some firm financial footing.

Next on the schedule is a Christmas show: a theatrical presentation of Nutcracker. This is not the ballet, but a reworked musical version of this favorite holiday story. Showings will be Dec 6-8 and 12-15 2013 with 7:30 evening performances and 2 pm matinees. Audition dates and times will be announced soon. * – see below!

Finally, as with any new endeavor, CTC is hoping to find some willing volunteers to help with the many tasks of putting on productions. Volunteers are needed for all aspects of theatre-work: designers, builders, costumers, staff persons, musicians, singers, actors, directors, web designers, sponsors and friends. If you are at all willing to help or to learn more about the new CTC, drop John and June a line at their email address: j2clairs@att.net

Again: if you support local theatre, a great way to do so will be to attend CTC’s kickoff event next weekend. You are sure to see some great local talent and it will be an excellent way to show your enthusiasm for what promises to be a well-run, artist-friendly, exciting new company.

As the Clairs expressed to me at our meeting, their message to the central Indiana theatre community is this: “If you have experience, or want experience, come experience CTC.”

* – Just announced! Audition dates for Nutcracker. All auditions will be held at Studio 15, 15 First Ave NE in Carmel:
Tues/Wed Oct 15 & 16 at 5:30pm-8:30pm
Sat Oct 19 at 9am-12pm
Sun Oct 20 at 12pm-2:30pm
Parts are available for 4 adults and 11 children plus “several dancing choruses”.
Adult parts are: Mother, Father, Godfather Dosselmeier and the Nanny.