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Bremerton Community Theatre fills an empty space — Opening of new performance hall rings in one acts

Kenny James listens to Scott Usher as they rehearse
Kenny James listens to Scott Usher as they rehearse 'Box and Cox' last Thursday.
— image credit: Kristin Okinaka/staff photo

The first time the Bremerton Community Theatre players performed the one acts, they took the show on the road, traveling around Kitsap County.

The first time, in the 1960s, the actors and directors who make up the community theater were raising money to build what is now the troupe’s home stage on Lebo Boulevard., which opened in 1976.

The second time the actors will perform the one act plays, on Friday, will be to mark the opening of a new performance hall at the theater — a smaller, more intimate venue which lends itself to smaller, more experimental productions, as well as a multi-purpose room for rehearsals and meetings.

“More and more we’re going back to what we did in the old theater,” said Bob Montgomery, 89, emeritus director.

In its 66th year, the Bremerton Community Theatre will celebrate the grand opening of the Robert B. Stewart Performance Hall with presentations of one acts including “Box and Cox,” an act from “The Merchant of Venice,” and “A Marriage Proposal” through May 22. Construction of the 1,190-square-foot performance hall began in late August and was completed last month.

“This will be more for avant-garde shows, new works — things that are off beat,” said Judy Nichols, 53, actor in “Box and Cox.” “You do a small show on a big stage and it looks cheesy.”

Montgomery has been involved with the community theatre since 1950 — he spearheaded the move from a tiny theater on 12th Street and Broadway Avenue to the current Lebo Boulevard location — and helped design the new performance hall.

Shakespeare’s plays were often performed in outdoor theaters without any fancy lighting and “Box and Cox” — set in London in 1848 where a landlady rents the same room unbeknownst to two men — was a touring comedy played in court yards, bars and pubs, Montgomery said. The works could therefore easily translate to the new performance hall.

Gary Fetterplace, who is directing “Box and Cox” and acting in “The Merchant of Venice,” said the theater in the round — as the room’s arena-like setup is described — is accommodating for all three works the group will perform, especially when characters chase after each other.

The Stewart Performance Hall cost about $454,000. The space’s namesake, former Bremerton City Councilmember Robert B. Stewart, donated about $250,000. Stewart became a member of the community theatre in the 1960s and acted in two plays.

 

Bremerton Community Theatre

“Box and Cox,” “The Merchant of Venice,” and “A Marriage Proposal”

Robert B. Stewart Performance Hall

599 Lebo Blvd., Bremerton

May 13 - 22, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2:30 p.m.

Tickets available at www.bctshows.com or calling (360) 373-5152

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