Amelia Community Theatre Celebrating 35th Anniversary
The award-winning Amelia Community Theatre founded in 1981, in the heart of the historic district of Fernandina Beach, Florida is celebrating its 35th anniversary. Under the inspired leadership of Executive Director Linda McClane, Amelia Community Theatre presents six main stage plays a year, and also offer an ongoing teen troupe, called ACTeen, and the Peppermint Players. It has always been the mission of the theatre is to produce high quality theater, provide outreach into the local schools, and artistic and educational activities for all ages so the quality of life is enriched for those who live in the community and those who visit Fernandina Beach.
Their current season includes William Inge’s “Picnic,” “Mary Poppins,” “Arsenic and Old Lace,” and “These Two Couples Went to Italy.” In their Studio 209 theater space, they will offer “Awkward Silence,” “Becky’s New Car,” and “Love, Death and the Prom.” During the holiday season, Amelia Community Theatre celebrates the holidays with the classic show, “Miracle on 34th Street.”
Ms. McClane became involved when the theater was founded in 1981 by Ed and Ellen Green. She and her husband, John, joined as charter members and worked with about eighty others in the community to help the theatre become what it is today.
When I spoke with Ms. McClane, I asked: What’s been most satisfying to you in terms of the community's response to your shows and workshops?
She replied: “The most satisfying aspect is when an audience member seeks me out to say how much a show or workshop meant to them. For example, a woman came up to me after seeing Dixie Swim Club and said she hadn't laughed since her husband died, and she sure enjoyed laughing all through the play.”
I continued asking Ms. McClane: Your shows have been playing to capacity. Is this reflection of how dedicated your board, the directors and casts are to the theatre?
Drama Camp 2015
“We do have really dedicated volunteers who put in enormous amounts of time to ensure that we have a good quality production. We always try to find a balance that lets us strive for as professional a show as we can make it, while still being open to involving new people who want education and training.”
My final question: What keeps you believing in how theatre can be meaningful in your life and add to the lives of those involved with Amelia Community Theatre and your audiences?
The Fox on the Fairway
She answered: “When I see a new volunteer, whether an onstage actor or backstage crew member really be bitten by the theatre bug and wants to immediately get involved in the very next production, I know we’re doing something meaningful and enriching their lives. I have seen people turn to theatre to deal with loneliness or grief, and have it literally save their lives.”
Drama Camp 2015
Amelia Community Theatre also presents events including the Decorated “Festival of Trees” in the lobby of the Main Stage theatre. The ACT Guild, created over ten years ago, helps raise money for the theater, aiding, supporting the theatre’s activities.
Recent productions included: “The Love List,” “Yankee Tavern,” “Fruitcakes,” “Noises Off,” “Nice People Dancing to Good Country Music,” “The Good Body,” “The Foreigner,” “Once on this Island,” “Hair,” “Grease,” “Inherit the Wind,” and “Bingo! The Winning Musical,” among many others. For info: Amelia Community Theatre 207/209 Cedar St. Fernandina Beach, FL (904) 261-6749, www.ameliacommunitytheatre.org, firstname.lastname@example.org