Since the late 1970s when “Friends of the Arts” was founded, a theater group that soon became the Archbold Community Theatre (ACT) has been planning and staging live performances in the Archbold area.
For the first 20 years, ACT had no home base. However, in 1999 ACT purchased Giffey Hall in Ridgeville Corners and presented its first performance, the annual Christmas show, there later that year.
Steve Van Sickle (left) shared the history of ACT with Rotarians and gave a behind the scenes look at how decisions are made on which productions to present, a little about the costs associated with each production and the number of volunteers needed to prepare and present musical and play productions.
He also noted that ACT has been life changing for several families that have ties to the organization — specifically ACT productions were where three couples who eventually married first met, including Steve and his wife, Teresa.
Although it’s been nearly two years since the last ACT production (the 2019 Christmas show) due to COVID, they hope to present Frozen Jr. in late September at Giffey Hall.
Primarily, with a cast of children and teens, show dates are Sept. 24 and 25 and Oct. 1 and 2 at 7:30 p.m. with a 2:30 p.m. matinee on Oct. 3. He added that they hope to present a spring and summer show next year as well, but decisions haven’t been made yet on what those productions will be.
The process of selecting which shows to perform is fairly time consuming, he explained. Several persons will literally read 20 to 30 scripts to narrow it down to perhaps eight possibilities that are then presented to a larger group to make the final decisions.
Although most of the cast members are from the Archbold or greater four county area, he explained that it is common to have cast members from as far away as Toledo, Fort Wayne and Bowling Green.
Typically, each actor pays a $30 costume fee to help defray those costs, which totaled $2,500 for Beauty and the Beast. Depending on the production, ACT has an extensive collection of costumes and props to choose from and rent to groups to use in their theatrical productions.
However, some production’s costumes are so unique that they either have to be rented or created by ACT’s volunteer seamstresses. In terms of cost, Beauty and the Beast was one of ACT’s more expensive productions at $14,500, which included $3,040 in royalty expenses.
The next highest cost was props and set construction at $2,700. According to Steve, the greatest need for non-cast volunteers is during production and leading up to it for such roles as seamstresses, carpenters, lights/sound, ushers and ticket sales. The program was arranged by Matt Mello (right).