By Katie Benfield
For the 2017 summer play series, Ensemble Stage has moved from its original home in Blowing Rock to its new, permanent venue at the Old Historic Banner Elk School in Banner Elk. With a permanent home in Banner Elk, Ensemble Stage has been working extra diligently to bring the High Country some of the best performances yet.
“We are incredibly excited about being in Banner Elk now,” Lamont said. “The community has been very warm and welcoming, and we are excited we are here and they are excited we are here. It’s been a very positive experience.”
The construction and renovation of the Old Historic Banner Elk School is almost complete. On Wednesday, the staff was putting the final touches on the Ensemble Stage Company’s new home in order to make it as beautiful and accommodating as possible for the audience members.
Ensemble Stage is well-known throughout the High Country for bringing entertaining plays full of amazing performers to the forefront. Ever since its founding in October of 2009, Ensemble Stage has been entertaining residents and visitors alike with its wide array of plays, ranging from mysteries to romances to dramas to comedies.
“The thing about Ensemble Stage is that we try to pick plays that not everyone has heard of,” Lisa Lamont, Managing Director of Ensemble Stage, said. “We try to find those that are fun and well-written but that aren’t always familiar.”
The season opens on Friday, June 16, with The Star Spangled Girl by Neil Simon. This upbeat copmedy takes place in San Francisco and follows two young men, Andy and Norman, as they utilize their apartment as the publishing headquarters for a protest magazine. An Olympic swimmer, Sophie, moves into an apartment on the same floor, and love and politics intertwine in this delightful play that will keep you rooted to your seats.
According to Lamont, Ensemble Stage had done a stage reading of this play once before, and the audience loved it so much that they requested the performance company do it as a play. However, they were waiting until they got the perfect actors for it, which happened to be this year.
“The cast is two guys and a girl, and they are amazing,” Lamont said. “It fit perfectly into our lineup.”
Along with The Star Spangled Girl, which runs from June 16 – June 24, there will be three other productions by Ensemble Stage. Mary and Myra by Catherine Filloux will be performed on stage from July 7 – July 15, followed by Switzerland by Joanna Murray-Smith, which goes from July 29 – August. The season then wraps up with Art of Murder by Joe DiPietro from August 18 – August 26.
“We are doing a suspense-thriller, a murder mystery and a historical drama,” Lamont said. “So, we decided to start out with a comedy. We thought starting off with a comedy was the best way to christen our new theatre.”
In the midst of all of these different genres, there will also be a chance for children to take part in Ensemble Stage. On June 24 and July 22 Rapunzel will take place, and on July 9 and July 30, King Arthur will take the stage. These two plays are part of Ensemble Stage’s Kids Summer Saturday Theatre in which classic tales take new twists as the children get to become a part of and help create the stories.
Ensemble Stage can only sell 99 tickets per performance, so don’t miss out on the opportunity to see any one of these incredible performances by some talented and skilled actors and actresses!
Tickets are $22 for adults, $20 for senior citizens/military/students and $11 for kids 16 and under.
For more information on the plays, visit the Ensemble Stage website.
For ticket purchases, call 828-414-1844 or visit the website.