Ensemble Stages Presents Four New Performances for its Summer Season

Published Friday, May 18, 2018 at 2:24 pm

By Elly Murray

Ensemble Stage, a nonprofit professional theatre in Banner Elk, returns for the summer season with four exciting new plays!

Founded in 2009, Ensemble Stage has entertained the High Country for many years with classic plays such as War of the Worlds, Macbeth, and Rapunzel, as well as more modern plays such as Mary and Myra, Toyer, and The Love List. They have presented over 80 productions, and sold over 21,000 show tickets.

Gary Smith and Lisa Lamont, the artistic director and managing director for Ensemble Stage, are excited to present four astounding new plays this summer, including a suspense thriller, two comedies, and a drama. When asked which summer performance he was most excited for, Smith said, “Asking a director to pick a favorite show he’s going to be working on is like asking a parent ‘Who’s your favorite kid?’.”

Smith is, however, excited for the new actors he’s chosen to perform in the summer plays, “We have actors coming in from all over the place. I’ve selected these actors over the course of a couple of months of regional auditions, local auditions, and video auditions, so I’ve probably seen about 1500 actors to fill these rolls. I’m real excited about who I’ve got coming in and things like that.”

The first performance of the summer, Deadly Murder, is a suspense thriller by David Foley. The story follows an attractive, successful jewelry designer who meets a handsome young waiter at a gala. But he is more than he appears, and our heroine must use all of her wits to save her life.

The second play of the summer is Red White and Tuna, a comedy by Jaston Williams, Joe Sears, and Ed Howard, that focuses on life in a rural part of America, a small Texas town called Tuna. Two new age hippies return to Tuna just in time for the 4th of July Tuna High School Class Reunion, and their arrival stirs up some trouble.

The third installment of the summer, Slow Dance on the Killing Ground, is a drama by William Hanley. The events of the play take place in the early sixties, where three extremely different people are brought together: a victim of the German concentration camps, a pregnant girl, and a streetwise juvenile delinquent.

The fourth and final performance of the summer is Weekend Comedy. Written by Jeanne and Sam Brobick, it centers on a couple in their fifties who decide to go on vacation. It is here that they encounter a couple in their twenties, who they share a one-bedroom cabin with for the weekend.

Many of Ensemble Stage’s main stage shows are deemed suitable for junior high school students and older, which is why they thoughtfully provide Saturday Kids Theatre. This production performs a few times over the summer, and is a show geared toward children and the furthering of their imaginations. Smith said, “It’s a great little show-it’s all about kids using their imagination, which unfortunately isn’t done as much nowadays as it used to be….Our kids summer Saturday theatre has been really popular with kids and adults every since we started that back in 2009.” The Saturday Kids Theatre play that will perform this summer is Marmalade Gumdrops, a story that focuses on a young boy attempting to clean out his old toys, with the help of some of his furniture.

Additionally, Ensemble Stage hosts a Theatre Camp from July 16 to July 20. This camp is a great opportunity for kids interested in theatre to get hands on experience building and painting sets, creating props and costumes, and even writing their own play. Smith said, “We only allow 12 kids in our camp, that way nobody gets lost in the crowd.” Unfortunately, all of the spots for this camp are filled as of right now, but be sure to check them out next summer!

Each of Ensemble Stage’s opening nights will be catered with complimentary appetizers, wine, and beer from Bayou Smokehouse & Grill for all opening night ticket holders to enjoy before the show. Additionally, Ensemble Stage boasts a new air conditioning system, which will be up and running by their first opening night. Smith explained, “We have a new 8 ton ductless system coming in and being installed next week, and it’ll be up and running and keeping our patrons cool throughout the summer. It’s all pretty much courtesy of the Banner Elk TDA and the town of Banner Elk.”

Being a nonprofit professional theatre, Ensemble Stage relies a lot on donations from outside sources to stay on their feet. As Smith explains, “Especially for a professional theatre, we’ve got some of the least expensive tickets around. Our adult tickets are $24 for a single ticket for a main stage show. If we didn’t have our donor base, to remain viable, we would have to charge at least double that to stay in the black.” You can help Ensemble Stage keep performing their amazing shows at affordable costs by donating online.

The people at Ensemble Stage also understand that not everyone can afford a ticket to their shows, so they offer a sort of deal for interested patrons. If you want to see a performance, but can’t afford it, you can sign up to usher for them, and see the performance for free! As Smith says, “We always need volunteers to usher or work the concessions during a show. It’s one of the things that’s part of our mission: we wanted to make professional theatre as affordable as possible to people.”

Ensemble Stage is located at 185 Azalea Cir SE, and season and single tickets to all of Ensemble Stage’s 2018 shows are on sale now at www.ensemblestage.com

For more information, please call (828)-414-1844

The summer schedule is as follows:

June 8-June 16: Deadly Murder

June 23: Marmalade Gumdrops (Saturday Kids Theatre)

June 29-July 6: Red White and Tuna

July 14: Marmalade Gumdrops (Saturday Kids Theatre)

July 27-Aug 4: Slow Dance on the Killing Ground

July 28: Marmalade Gumdrops (Saturday Kids Theatre)

Aug 17-Aug 25: Weekend Comedy










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