After an exhaustive two-year search, Cuenca’s expat theater finally has a place it can call home.
“We walked almost every street in Cuenca looking for the right place and we’re thrilled that we finally found it,” says Deana Culp, Azuay Community Theater (ACT) board of directors president.
The theater, immediately to the west of the Oro Verde Hotel on Av. Ordoñez Lasso, was built as a performance venue. “It’s really more than we could have hoped for,” says Culp, “and the landlord is making upgrades, including adding new lighting, to make it even better.”
ACT will celebrate the theater’s grand opening April 13, 14 and 15, with presentations of a two-act comedy, the Kitchen Witches. The cast includes expats Linda Lewis, Terri Drake, Bob Fry and Cody Hamilton.
“Having our own space makes all the difference in the world for a theater production,” Culp says. “Since we started in 2014, we’ve felt like orphans, borrowing space from restaurants, stores, galleries and public theaters. Our rehearsal time was limited since there were other things going on in those spaces and we couldn’t leave our sets standing,” she says.
Organized in 2014 by Juanita Ruth One, ACT has produced 16 plays, including fully staged and readers’ theater, and has featured 40 different actors, most of them expats. Among its productions are Greater Tuna, Deathtrap, a Bench in the Sun, Talking With, Broadway Bound, Menopause the Musical, and Opening Night.
In addition, ACT has been a supporter of the Casa Maria Amor women’s shelter in Cuenca, donating proceeds from productions of Seven, or Siete, performed in both English and Spanish.
According to Culp, ACT is 100 percent volunteer-driven. “No one is paid, everyone offers their time and talent because they love theater,” she says, adding that more volunteers are always needed. “We need directors, technicians, costumers, ticket-sellers, greeters, back-stage and set construction help,” she says. “We need a lot of help to make our community theater the best it can be. It really takes a village to do this,” she adds. Those interested in joining ACT, should write email@example.com
Besides Culp, ACT’s board of directors includes Linda Chase, Diana Ham, Sandi King, Markku Sario, Ray Lewis and Frank Herndon. Paula Keenan serves as theater advisor.
According to Culp, ACT’s new home will also host other cultural events when it’s not being used for its own performances. “It will be a public space for all the arts in Cuenca.”
ACT also plans a series of fund-raising events which it will announce soon.
Tickets for Kitchen Witches are already on sale and can be purchased by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com, or by phone at 098 335 1582. Tickets can also be purchased at the Vegetable Bar Trivia Nights, April 3 and 10; Sunrise Café, Wednesday, April 11 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.; Sabatino’s Garden Restaurant, Saturday, April 7, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; and at Cuenca Consignments, Friday, April 6, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tickets are $10.