Upstage Theatre brings opportunities for arts involvement
Upstage Theatre is an Edmond-based nonprofit performing arts training center and community theatre. Located near Kelly and Danforth, their goal is to prepare students and adults for musical theatre. They also bring awareness and opportunities for arts involvement and participation to residents of Edmond.
In the fall of 2010, a small group of people saw a need for a performing arts training program for young artists. One of the members of that group was Jenny Rottmayer, now the Artistic Director and Owner of Upstage Theatre.
“We wanted the focus to be musical theatre,” Rottmayer shared. “Our goal was to prepare young artists for their middle school, high school, and collegiate musical theatre programs. We also sought to prepare students for a career in theatre. We also wanted to bring community theatre back to Edmond and Mitch Park after Summerstock productions merged with UCO.”
Since its inception, many things have changed for Upstage Theatre. Patrick Towne is a director, choreographer, and instructor. He elaborated, “We have learned the art of flexibility and the wherewithal to make changes where we discover a need to do so.”
That flexibility benefited them during COVID. “The spring of 2020, we did have to cancel a production, which was devastating to us,” Towne said. “However, we are very proud that from the summer of 2020 on, we have kept producing shows with very little disruption from the COVID outbreak.”
Thankfully, the team at Upstage Theatre can continue to fulfill its mission. Towne shared, “Our favorite thing at Upstage Theatre is to see a child or a teenager come into their own through theatre. Theatre teaches us so much about ourselves as people, the world around us, and those in it.”
The team also enjoys sharing theatre with the community in Edmond. “We wear lots of different hats,” said Rottmayer, “and rely heavily on community support and our incredible cast and crew members to make these shows happen.”
Towne elaborated, “Every summer we have parents and children, retired citizens, teenagers from the Edmond high schools, collegiate students from UCO and OCU join our summer musicals. We love bringing new people into our community and learning about their lives and working with them to create a show.”
A lot of work goes into those shows. Typically they rehearse at least weekly during their fall and spring semesters. Their community theatre shows are done in just 4-6 weeks. That includes learning all the music, staging, choreography, run-throughs, and dress rehearsal.
“We truly believe in the power of theatre to heal the world,” Rottmayer said. “I have 6 kids and I want them to grow up in a world where people are kind and respectful of one another. Through theatre, we can heal some of the brokenness that we see in our society and make things a little better for us all.”
Upstage provides opportunities for involvement regardless of your age or experience levels. Because of COVID, they also offer virtual options to learn from home.
“Everyone is welcome at Upstage Theatre,” Rottmayer said.
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About Tim Priebe
Tim is a public speaker, author, publisher of Edmond Business, and the owner of T&S Online Marketing. He helps businesses that are worried they don’t have the expertise or time required to invest in doing their own digital marketing. He helps them plan where and how much to invest and often helps execute the plan.
Tim started the Edmond Business online magazine in May 2020 to fill a need in the community when The Edmond Sun shut down and stopped publishing their monthly magazine, The Business Times.