Mark Your Calendar For Another Spectacular Pottstown ArtsWalk – A Free Event – Saturday, May 6, 2017!

Pottstown, PA —“We have always recognized and embraced what the arts and collaboration can do for a community”, said Erika Hornburg-Cooper, ArtFusion19464. Join us for a day of discovery on Saturday, May 6, 2017 from 12 pm to 9 pm. Arts and culture organizations, local businesses and restaurants are teaming up to bring you an amazing day of fun, food and entertainment.

“The Pottstown Downtown Improvement District Authority (PDIDA) is excited to be a part in this venture. It has been very exciting to see our downtown community pull together with our arts and cultural organizations to create this amazing event,” states Sheila Dugan, PDIDA.

Viewing the art in a kind of “pub crawl” format adds to the fun and energetic quality of this event. Family-friendly activities are being planned. Nearly 20 downtown business will be open to showcase original artwork displays and live musical entertainment.

“It all starts with the arts!” said Lauren Pierson-Swanson, Steel River Playhouse. “To know Pottstown is to love it. The people behind the businesses and attractions on and around High Street are smart, driven and dedicated to this beautiful historic town. Art has always been a catalyst in the rejuvenation of American communities and is the focus of Pottstown ArtsWalk.”

While this event is free, we ask that you pre-register for your free ticket. Each is valid for one person to join the Pottstown ArtsWalk on Saturday, May 6, 2017, and you can order as many as you need. Visit http://www.artfusion19464.org/artwalk.

Get a taste for all the activities, food and arts presentations. Here is a list of venues joining us Saturday, May 6th to showcase Pottstown and all that our community has to offer:

@107, 107 E. High St. and Advantage Insurance
ArtFusion 19464, 254 E. High St.
Ballroom on High, 310 E. High St.
Beverly’s Pastry Shop, 322 E. High St.
Connections on High, 238 E. High St.
Grumpy’s Handcarved Sandwiches, 137 E. High St.
High Street Music, 135 E. High St.
iCreate Cafe, 130 King St.
Juan Carlos Fine Mexican Cuisine, 235 E. High St.
Lily’s Grill, 115 E. High St.
MCCC North Hall Gallery, 16 E. High St.
Memory Madness Photo Studio, 16 N. York St.
MOSIAC Community Land Trust, 10 S. Hanover St.
Potts & Penn Family Diner, 80 E. High St.
Smith Family Plaza, 100 E. High St.
Steel River Playhouse, 245 E. High St.
The Carousel at Pottstown, 30 W. King St.
The Hill School Center for the Performing Arts, 780 Beech St.
Weitzenkorn’s, 145 E. High St.

To get the latest update on locations and activities, visit http://www.artfusion19464.org/artwalk and don’t forget to pre-register for Pottstown ArtsWalk!

Pottstown ArtsWalk is brought to you in partnership through
ArtFusion19464, Steel River Playhouse, @107, Proudly Pottstown and Advantage Insurance Group.

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PLAYHOUSE ACCEPTING ENROLLMENT FOR SPRING CLASSES, PRODUCTION WORKSHOPS, HOME SCHOOL DRAMA WORKSHOP AND SUMMER CAMP!

Pottstown, PA — Steel River Playhouse, at 245 E. High Street in Pottstown, PA is now accepting enrollment for the Spring term and summer program, which includes private study in guitar, piano, voice, trumpet and acting, along with group classes in acting, performance, improvisation and much more.

Steel River’s spring term began on Monday, March 28. Classes are available in Acting, Improvisation, Broadway Cabaret, and the popular Flights of Fancy and Imagination Theater programs for young actors to create and perform original works and perform for an audience. A home school drama club original production workshop is also accepting enrollment.

Students may also enroll NOW for workshop productions beginning in mid-March including productions of THE TEMPEST (classical workshop for dramatic actors), A CHARM SCHOOL WITCH (musical workshop for young performers), BANG BANG, YOU’RE DEAD (a contemporary drama workshop) and Broadway Cabaret workshop (Summer Lovin’ Cabaret). For more information on these productions, email the education department at education@steelriver.org.

Summer camp enrollment has also begun, and students may register for three different two week camps.

  • Camp one offers a Variety Show theme, and runs from July 11 to July 22.
  • Camp two runs from July 25 to August 8, and offers students the opportunity to work an original musical theme of global awareness, which explores a variety of cultures from around the world.
  • Camp three offers students to create original one act plays, from August 8 to 19.

Camps run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily (with option for half day camp for younger students). Each camp culminates in an original work that is performed for parents, and includes workshops in specialty skills that will be used in that performance, such as juggling, Broadway dance styles and more, while also incorporating lessons in confidence, cultural awareness and collaboration.

Steel River Playhouse employs educators who are regionally and nationally renowned in their fields with many holding advanced degrees. The facility is also renowned as one of the highest rated theatrical venues in PA, featuring state of the art performance spaces, studios, classroom space, sound reinforcement equipment and seating, full set, costume and prop shops as well as the best green room of any theater in the area. Steel River’s goal is to provide the highest possible educational experience for students and participants in the tri-county area, focused on every level of training from beginner to expert!

About Steel River Playhouse – Steel River Playhouse is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable education and performance facility that seeks to strengthen community, inspire creative exploration, educate, and entertain, through the presentation of quality performing arts events and education for diverse audiences. Designated as a “gateway” performing arts center, Steel River provides affordable, high quality performances, comprehensive educational offerings, and enriching volunteer opportunities in all aspects of theatre arts. Students and volunteers of all ages and backgrounds are encouraged to explore and grow their skills by working side-by-side with professional instructors, performers, directors, and designers.

Mark Your Calendar For Pottstown ArtsWalk – A Free Event – Saturday, January 7, 2017!

Arts Walk FinalPOTTSTOWN, PA  –  “We have always recognized and embraced what the arts and collaboration can do for a community”, said Erika Hornburg-Cooper, ArtFusion19464. Join us for a day of discovery on Saturday, January 7, 2017. Arts and culture organizations, local businesses and restaurants are teaming up to bring you an amazing day of fun, food and entertainment. “The Pottstown Downtown Improvement District Authority (PDIDA) is excited to be a part in this venture. It has been very exciting to see our downtown community pull together with our arts and cultural organizations to create this amazing event,” states Sheila Dugan, PDIDA.

carouselViewing the art in a kind of “pub crawl” format adds to the fun and energetic quality of this event. Family-friendly activities are scheduled from 2 to 4 pm and from 4 to 8 pm more great activities designed for adults. Nearly 20 downtown business will be open to showcase original artwork displays and live musical entertainment.

 

“It all starts with the arts!” said Lauren Pierson-Swanson, Steel River Playhouse. “To know Pottstown is to love it. The people behind the businesses and attractions on and around High Street are smart, driven and dedicated to this beautiful historic town. Art has always been a catalyst in the rejuvenation of American communities and is the focus of Pottstown ArtsWalk.”

steel-river-facade-pictureWhile this event is free, we ask that you pre-register for your free ticket. Each is valid for one person to join the Pottstown ArtsWalk on Saturday, January 7, 2017, and you can order as many as you need. Visit www.artfusion19464.org/artwalk.

Get a taste for all the activities, food and arts presentations. Here is a list of venues and artists joining us Saturday, January 7th to showcase Pottstown and all that the our community has to offer:

@107, 107 E. High St. and Advantage Insurance – music by Cordilla Arcay and Matt Asti and original artwork display from John Quinn; light refreshments; wine tasting

ArtFusion 19464, 254 E. High St. – local artists’ collections, an interactive art experience, and soup bowl glazing fundraiser

Ballroom on High, 310 E. High St. – free dance lesson and live band dance with Temple Avenue; refreshments

Beverly’s Pastry Shop, 322 E. High St. – discounts on sweet treats

Connections on High, 238 E. High St. – custom portrait making and local artists’ displays; hot holiday beverages

Grumpy’s Handcarved Sandwiches, 137 E. High St.– Pottstown HS Culinary Arts students will be making/serving complimentary hors d’oeuvres; discounts on food/meal during the ArtsWalk

High Street Music, 135 E. High St. – original artwork display by Pottstown HS students and the Craig Clemens Jazz Trio

iCreate Cafe, 130 King St. – discounts on food/meal during the ArtsWalk

Juan Carlos Fine Mexican Cuisine, 235 E. High St. – discounts on food/meal during the ArtsWalk

Lily’s Grill, 115 E. High St. – discounts on food/meal during the ArtsWalk

MCCC North Hall Gallery, 16 E. High St. – staged reading of A Bright Room Called Day by Tony Kushner

Memory Madness Photo Studio, 16 N. York St. – open house

MOSIAC Community Land Trust, 10 S. Hanover St. – painting Schuylkill River rocks for placement in gardens around town

Potts & Penn Family Diner, 80 E. High St. – discounts on food/meal during the ArtsWalk

Smith Family Plaza, 100 E. High St. – view sculptures by Eric Berg

Steel River Playhouse, 245 E. High St. – hand-made theatrical costume display by Ally Boughter; artwork by Thomas Poplawski

The Carousel at Pottstown, 30 W. King St. – meet artists of the all-volunteer organization and hear presentations on the project’s history

The Hill School Center for the Performing Arts, 780 Beech St. – paper lantern art activity and backstage tours

Weitzenkorn’s, 145 E. High St. – view works by our families fifth generation, light refreshments

To get the latest update on locations and activities, visit artfusion19464.org or www.steelriver.org. Don’t forget to pre-register for Pottstown ArtsWalk! Visit www.artfusion19464.org/artwalk.

Pottstown ArtsWalk is brought to you in partnership through ArtFusion19464, Steel River Playhouse, @107, Proudly Pottstown and Advantage Insurance Group.

P.S. A great ending to a great day with lots of laughs! The N Crowd Improv Group from Philly will be at Steel River Playhouse for an 8 pm show! Tickets available at www.steelriver.org

CLASSICAL GUITARIST OPENS SEASON IN POTTSTOWN‏

Russell Ferrara performing classical guitar Lake Lanier, GA

Russell Ferrara performing classical guitar Lake Lanier, GA

Pottstown, PA –  Classical Guitarist Russell Ferrara begins the 2016 fall season with 3 formal and informal performances in Pottstown. He will perform for the Steel River Playhouse Gala on Saturday September 10 at 7:00 PM, for Pottstown FARM on High Street on September 15 with sets interspersed throughout the 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM event. On September 24 he will present informal performances as well as pop up classes on guitar and ukulele at the Pottstown Latin Festival. Information and
tickets to the Steel River Playhouse Gala are available at steelriver-playhouse.org. Pottstown FARM and the Pottstown Latin Festival are free and open to the public.

With Kim Robson: Lake Lanier, GA

With Kim Robson: Lake Lanier, GA

These performances mark the end of a highly productive summer for Ferrara, who has been performing and teaching in and around Pottstown since the opening of Steel River playhouse in 2008. He began the summer with a 10 day trip to Georgia to perform, teach and direct guitar ensembles with his flute playing partner Kim Robson. Upon returning from Georgia he taught ukulele classes and workshops at Pottstown Middle School and Steel River Playhouse, made his first appearance at Pottstown FARM and went immediately into rehearsals for the Wings of Hope benefit concert at the Colonial Theater in Phoenixville. From there he and Robson began sessions for their completed but as yet unreleased album. He took time away from the studio only to do a run in the pit band of “Smokey Joe’s Cafe” at the SALT theater in Yellow Springs.

Ferrara begins this month presenting the class “Ukulele Fun” at Steel River Playhouse. Designed to provide an introduction to playing string instruments, “Ukulele Fun” uses music familiar to everyone to build solid playing skills. The format of the class is ensemble based with everyone playing together in a fast-paced fun environment. Ferrara brings his years of experience performing and directing guitar ensembles to the design and format of the class. Further information can be found at steelriver-playhouse.org.

Steel River Playhouse Offering Discount Tickets And Happy Hour

Picture 577

Thursday, May 19th

5:30-7 PM

Steel River Playhouse

245 E High St.

Pottstown, PA

 

Hors D’Oeuvres Provided

Cash Bar Available

Steel River Playhouse Offering Discount Tickets to Show After Happy Hour: $26.00 for adult, $21.00 for Seniors over 65, and $14.00 for students

RSVP Required.

Please call 610.850.0181 ext. 0 to RSVP.

STEEL RIVER PLAYHOUSE ACCEPTING ENROLLMENT FOR SPRING CLASSES AND WORKSHOPS

Picture 577Pottstown, PA​ — Steel River Playhouse is now accepting enrollment for the Spring term which includes private study in guitar, piano, voice, trumpet and acting, along with group classes in acting, performance, improvisation and much more.

Steel River’s spring term begins on Monday, March 28​. Classes for the Spring include four different acting classes geared towards different age groups, Improvisation, Group Vocal Study (for young performers who are not quite ready for solo study), Broadway Dance Styles, and the popular Flights of Fancy program for young actors, where students create an original show for parents. Several new classes have been added for Spring for Pre­K to 12th grade and adults! Private lessons are also available in piano, voice, guitar, trumpet and acting.

A new addition to the program is a group class for guitar players of all skill levels called Guitar Calisthenics ​with instructor Russ Ferrara. Students may try the class for free with advanced sign up by March 28, for up to three classes!

Students may join Ferrara on Thursday, March 31, April 7, and 14 at 6 p.m. for a one-hour class allows students to work on guitar in a group class setting. Classes will only run with advanced sign up, so make sure to reserve your spot in the class. The class will continue for nine weeks, and students will need to enroll to continue in the class after the three free sessions.

Students may also enroll for Spring workshop productions of DRACULA (classical workshop for dramatic actors), CINDERELLA (musical workshop for young performers) and Broadway Cabaret workshop​, all planned for Spring Semester. Workshop productions that culminate in performance are offered ALL year this year in the education department. Workshops offer acting lessons for the first part of class, and then use those lessons to work on rehearsing a fully staged production. The productions go up at the end of class on the black box main stage of the Steel River Playhouse.

Summer camp enrollment has also begun, ​ and students can register for three different two­ week camps. The first camp for singers and actors has a Vaudeville theme, and runs from July 11 to July 22. The second two-week camp runs from July 25 to August 8, and is a musical theater camp presenting Arabian Nights (a musical), and the final camp focuses on acting and the creation of original one acts. The One Act camp runs August 8 to 19. Camps run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily (with option for half day camp for younger students). Before and after camp is also available. Each camp also culminates in a performance for parents, and includes workshops in specialty skills that will be used in that performance, such as juggling, Broadway dance styles and more.

Steel River Playhouse employs performance educators who are regionally and nationally renowned in their fields. All are trained in their fields with many holding advanced degrees. The facility is also renowned as one of the highest rated theatrical venues in PA, featuring state of the art performance spaces, studios, classroom space, sound reinforcement equipment and seating, full set, costume and prop shops as well as the best green room of any theater in the area. Steel River’s goal is to provide the highest possible educational experience for students and participants in the Tri­County area, focused on every level of training from beginner to expert!

About Steel River Playhouse: ​­Steel River Playhouse is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable education and performance facility that seeks to strengthen community, inspire creative exploration, educate, and entertain, through the presentation of quality performing arts events and education for diverse audiences. Designated as a “gateway” performing arts center, Steel River provides affordable, high quality performances, comprehensive educational offerings, and enriching volunteer opportunities in all aspects of theatre arts. Students and volunteers of all ages and backgrounds are encouraged to explore and grow their skills by working side ­by­ side with professional instructors, performers, directors, and designers.

Steel River Playhouse 2015-2016 Season

Picture 577LIVE at Steel River Playhouse

Laugh. Cry. Sing. Dance. Think. And be prepared for the unexpected! From the holiday classic White Christmas, to our American Classics offering The Glass Menagerie, to the beloved musical Fiddler On The Roof, to the sharp satire of The Colored Museum, there’s something for every theatergoer to love in our 2015-2016 season!

For tickets, click “Online Tickets” or contact 610.970.1199 or http://www.steelriver.org/current-season/out-2015-2016-season/. For subscriptions or group sales of 10 or more, including personal or business events and receptions, contact http://www.steelriver.org/current-season/subscription-plans/.

Steel River Playhouse – Annual Gala – September 12, 2015

Picture 577Steel River Playhouse cordially invites you to our 2015 Annual Gala! Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? Steel River Playhouse invites you to join us for our first ever formal Gala to kick-off our 2015-2016 season with “An Evening In Paris.” Come with us and enjoy a night of amazing food, great people and a sneak peek at some of the entertainment this upcoming season. For more information, CLICK HERE.

Steel River Playhouse Summer Camp 2015

Picture 577See how the arts can enrich your child’s world, through skill building, performing and working creatively and collaboratively with others.

*Each session taught by our professional staff

*Sessions specially designed for Elementary, Middle and High School Ages

*Choice of AM or full-day activities for elementary school students.

*Financial Aid available for families in need of assistance (click for application)

*… and a Steel River Summer Camp t-shirt included with camp tuition!

Enroll Now!

Three separate sessions to fit your family’s summer schedule:

  •  Session 1: July 6-17
  • Session 2: July 20-31
  • Session 3: August 3-14

SRP summer camp 2015 registration form

Camp 2015 Program Guide

More information:  http://www.steelriver.org/2015/04/summer-camp-2015/

A MATCH MADE IN…….POTTSTOWN!

#1In the fall of 2008 Ron Garza, chef-proprietor of Juan Carlos Fine Mexican Cuisine on High Street in Pottstown, was scouting locations to realize his dream of opening a fine dining restaurant.  Classical guitarist Russell Ferrara was, at that time, in the eighth year of disability from his lifelong music career. He was taking baby steps, post spinal surgery, to reactivate his performance activities.  He had just accepted an invitation join the music faculty of the soon to be opened Steel River Playhouse.

In early 2009 Ferrara began to notice construction activity at the northwest corner of High and Penn Streets just three doors down from Steel River Playhouse.  Spring brought signage which indicated that the storefront was becoming a Mexican restaurant. When work was nearly complete he walked in unannounced and began playing amidst the construction. Garza hired him on the spot and the two have remained close since.  Ferrara returned to Juan Carlos on Friday nights a few weeks ago after an eight-month absence during which he was on the road with his group Lackawanna Sky featuring Native American Flute player David Rose. Lackawanna Sky broke out at the April 2014 Launch Festival in Lancaster, PA where they were signed by Spirit Wind Records.  They subsequently toured in Georgia and Wisconsin, returning to PA to perform at the Kipona and Spirit of Oneness festivals in Harrisburg and in a continuing series of weekend performances in the Central Market of Lancaster. They are finishing up their first album and will return to Georgia in June.  Surprisingly, Ferrara credits much of this success to his tenure at Juan Carlos.

“I was introduced to the Native American flute at Juan Carlos,” Ferrara states. “On a quiet night I noticed a woman had lingered long past dessert. She approached me asking if I could wait ten minutes until she returned. She returned with a case full of flutes, chose one, announced the key and off we went!”  Within three weeks, the duo had made a demo and been accepted to perform at the 2010 International Native American Flute Association festival.”  That partnership did not work out long term but the recordings circulated and came to the attention of David Rose of Elizabethtown. Ferrara again: “David contacted me in June of 2013 as I was leaving for a tour with Candace Keach, Principal Flute of the Macon Symphony. Not long after I returned David and I gave our first ever performance at Juan Carlos.”

For his part, Garza was busy during Ferrara’s absence as well. Juan Carlos was nominated in two categories of the WPHL 17 ‘Hot List’ competition.  Garza brought home a win in the “Best Mexican” category as well as a second place in the “Best BYOB” category.  In addition, Garza collaborated with Steve Armstrong of Armstrong Ales in East Pikeland to create the first ever Mexican-style lager brewed in Pennsylvania.  Garza credits Ferrara with lending a hand in the first year the restaurant was open. “I guess we were a little green when we first opened.” Garza stated. “Russ introduced me to Anthony Bellapigna of sister restaurants Ariano and Fellini’s in Media, PA.  We met with him on a night that Russ was playing at Ariano.  Anthony helped me to streamline the menu.  He sent one of his best managers to Juan Carlos and made lots of great suggestions. Russ has been with me since the beginning.”

The two often talk about their goals and display a genuine regard for each other’s artistry. “I’m a foody,” Ferrara states. “My father owned restaurants and cooking is my hobby. I immediately noticed the passion and creativity that Ron displays in the kitchen.” Garza’s response to that was simply, “Yes, Russ and I are the same in that way.”

Juan Carlos, 235 E High St. Pottstown is open 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM Tuesday through Saturday. Catering is available anytime in the Wine Cellar.  Ferrara holds forth every Friday night.

Event Packed Weekend In Pottstown

Every now and then there are those weekends that are jam-packed with activities.  This warm and sunny weekend was just such a time.  If you live in the TriCounty Area here’s what went on.

Saturday and Sunday in Memorial Park a Native American Powwow took place.  There was music, dancing, food etc…  Nice write up in the Mercury about it with pictures:

http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20150502/pottstown-jam-packed-with-saturday-full-of-fun

Saturday night was the first Nostalgia Night of the season on High Street, downtown Pottsown.  The first Saturday of May, June, July, August and September you can find hundreds of classic cars downtown along with music and food.  To learn more about Nostagia Nights, click here:

http://www.pottstownclassics.com/

This weekend was the opening weekend for “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” at the Steel River Playhouse in downtown Pottstown.  The show continues next weekend.  Click here for details and to buy tickets: http://www.steelriver.org/current-season/4438-2/

Today, Sly Fox Brewing Company held their annual Bock Fest and Goat Races in Pottstown at the site of their brewery on the Circle of Progress.  Thousands of people attended.  The event featured live music, food, beer and goat races.  Here are some pictures from this afternoon:

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Jeffrey Sweet In A One Man Show February 14 At Steel River Playhouse

Picture 577On February 14, 2015, Jeffrey Sweet, the author of “Court Martial at Fort Devens”, will be appearing at Steel River Playhouse in his one-man show, “You Only Shoot The Ones You Love”, a 75-minute yarn about how the Cossacks almost killed his grandmother and what that has to do with a generation of Jews bringing teeth and cojones (look it up) to American comedy. In response to Joe McCarthy, Nixon and HUAC, wits like Nichols and May, Alan Arkin, Shelley Berman, and Jules Feiffer (and Lenny Bruce, Mort Sahl, Neil Simon and Mel Brooks) invent modern American satire. For more information, click here.

Tourism Touted As Means To Rejuvenate Pottstown

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

POTTSTOWN — “Tourism” might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you say “Pottstown,” but as far as Bill Fitzgerald is concerned, that won’t be true for long.

Fitzgerald is the president of the newly reconstituted Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board and he was in town last week to talk to Pottstown Borough Council about how his organization can help promote what Pottstown has to offer.

Tourism is on the upswing in Montgomery County, Fitzgerald said, and Pottstown is well-positioned to benefit from that trend, Fitzgerald said.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140908/tourism-touted-as-means-to-rejuvenate-pottstown

Announcing Our 2014-2015 Season LIVE At Steel River Playhouse

Picture 577Laugh. Cry. Sing. Dance. Think. And be prepared for the unexpected! From the family classic The Sound of Music, to the gritty drama Court Martial at Fort Devens, to the joyous Shout!, to the whimsy of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, there’s something for every theatergoer to love in our 2014-2015 season!

For tickets, click “Online Tickets” or contact 610.970.1199 or boxoffice@steelriver.org. For subscriptions or group sales of 10 or more, including personal or business events and receptions, contact subscriber@steelriver.org.

Marta Kiesling Resigns As Steel River Playhouse Executive Director

Picture 577POTTSTOWN, PA — Marta Kiesling, the dynamic executive director of Steel River Playhouse who grew a small acting group that performed in her living room into the region’s premiere venue for live theater, has parted ways with the institution she helped found.

A Monday evening e-mail from the board of directors to community leaders announced that Kiesling’s resignation had been accepted, effective May 1.

“We’re saddened to lose such a visionary person who built the playhouse to the strong cultural and educational institution it is today,” the release said.

What started as Village Productions was grown by Kiesling into the TriCounty Performing Arts Center, which with the help of grants from Montgomery County and a variety of other sources, established a theater in the former J.J. Newberry Department store at 245 E. High St. in 2008.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140506/marta-kiesling-resigns-as-steel-river-playhouse-executive-director

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Beech Street Factory: Arts-Based Community Revitalization In Pottstown

The Beech Street Factory is a $12.5-million, 30-year investment in Pottstown’s future. With this project, Genesis Housing Corporation and Housing Visions propose not only to rehabilitate a vacant, prominent building in the Borough’s National Register Historic District, but also to spark renewed focus on the arts in Pottstown.

Pottstown has seen a cultural resurgence in recent years. Decades of hard work by organizations such as ArtFusion, Steel River Playhouse, the Pottstown Area Artists’ Guild, Montgomery County Community College, The Hill School Farnsworth Art Museum, and other arts-oriented organizations have highlighted the importance of cultivating visual, performing, and fine arts in Pottstown. More recently, the formation of CreativeMontCo has solidified county-wide interest in the arts. And ongoing investment by Genesis Housing Corporation, Mosaic Community Land Trust, the National Trust Main Street Program, and the Borough of Pottstown have helped to strengthen the overall quality of life in in the Borough by enhancing the public streetscape and laying the groundwork for further investment.

The Beech Street Factory proposes to capitalize on these long-standing efforts and help take them to the next level. Through their development expertise and knowledge of funding programs, Housing Visions and Genesis are planning to convert the old Fecera’s furniture warehouse into a 60,000-square-foot, mixed-use arts center. The ground floor will include 3,000 square feet of energy-efficient, financially sustainable space for ArtFusion, Pottstown’s long-running and much-loved non-profit community arts center.. And the remainder of the building will provide 43 loft, industrial-style apartments to artists and other interested residents. With 14 unique floor plans, exposed brick walls, plenty of natural light, and amenities including a landscaped courtyard, community room, resident computer lab, elevator, and off-street parking, the Beech Street Factory will provide inspiring spaces for Pottstown’s creative community to call home.

The combination of commercial and residential space will ensure a “24-hour” community at the Beech Street Factory, where the busy hum of ArtFusion students during the day gives way to quiet creativity among individual residents at night. The Beech Street Factory will seek to engage with the larger Pottstown community by hosting gallery events at ArtFusion and in the building’s resident community room and open front porch. Residents will be encouraged through Housing Visions scholarships to take classes at ArtFusion, and similarly, members of ArtFusion may wish to apply for residency at the Factory. Additionally, Housing Visions plans to market the residential units to qualified tenants throughout the region by advertising in local arts publications, print and social media, and at local arts events.

The Beech Street Factory provides the catalyst for a renewed conversation about creating a formal Pottstown Arts District. The developers plan to participate on a new Arts Task Force, supporting the Mosaic Community Land Trust in their effort to create an Artist Relocation Program around homeownership in the Beech Street Neighborhood. Through Housing Tax Credit funding, Housing Visions commits its expertise and resources to help improve the quality of life in Pottstown over the next 30 years. By sharing their extensive experience in creative financing and redevelopment of historic properties, Housing Visions and Genesis hope to foster a renewed, stronger emphasis on neighborhood revitalization and quality of life in Pottstown.

By Heather Schroeder, Development Project Manager, Housing Visions

Editor’s thoughts:  This project is gaining supporters. Here is this list, so far:

U.S. Representative Gerlach

Creative MontCo

ArtFusion

Steel River Playhouse

Genesis

Michael Horn, Architect

We feel this project could be the “game changing” catalyst that will finally propel Pottstown’s Arts Revitalization movement forward. Successful completion of a major project in Pottstown would send the signal to funding agencies, investors and developers that Pottstown is now working together toward a common goal. We urge Pottstown Borough Council to get on board with this project.

The biggest thing holding Pottstown back has been the inability of all parties to find common ground and work together. Now that Housing Visions has gotten on board with Pottstown’s desire to be something more than another dumping ground for Montgomery County’s social service ills, and made significant changes to this project, we feel this version is now worthy of our support as well.

We feel the last paragraph regarding the creation of an “arts district” and an artist relocation program is a key component of this project. We have posted about Oil City‘s artist relocation program and how it has helped transform this much smaller and more remote community in Venango County. Pottstown’s excellent location and easy access to Philadelphia, the Lehigh Valley, Reading and Lancaster only improve the chances for success.

We think you will see support continue to build from other stakeholders in the Tri-County area. A revitalized Pottstown benefits EVERYBODY in the 19464,19465 zip codes, and beyond.

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Steel River Playhouse’s New Artist Director Can Do It All

Picture 577Actor, director, producer, playwright, teacher — Steel River Playhouse’s new artist director Gene Terruso is comfortable in all those roles. But that was not always the case.

Unlike so many theater people, despite his mother’s unflagging encouragement, he was not dying to get on stage. In fact he studiously avoided it until high school.

Terruso grew up in a West Philadelphia neighborhood and back then, it wasn’t cool to be a theater geek.

Trying out for shows, “was not a manly thing to do,” he said with a bemused smile.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/lifestyle/20140125/steel-river-playhouses-new-artist-director-can-do-it-all

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Pottstown Meeting Monday Will Help Chart Montco’s Future

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

POTTSTOWN, PA — Your opportunity to help shape the future begins at 7 p.m. Monday at the Steel River Playhouse.

That is when and where a contingent from the Montgomery County Planning Commission will be on hand to get input from you, the public, as preparations are made to write a new comprehensive plan.

Assembled every dozen or so years, the county comprehensive plan guides development and policy decisions on elements of day-to-day life that range from transportation to recreation; from the economic development to the preservation of natural resources; from housing to health.

The open meeting at the playhouse is the first of four to be held throughout the county “to find out what people want,” said Brian O’Leary, section chief of county planning for Montgomery County.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20131115/pottstown-meeting-monday-will-help-chart-montcos-future

Shrek The Musical! Thursdays Through Sundays, Dec 5 – 22 At Steel River Playhouse In Pottsown

Picture 577SHREK THE MUSICAL!

Thursdays through Sundays, Dec 5 – 22

Music by Jeanine Tesori; book and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire

Based on the DreamWorks Animation Motion Picture and the book by William Steig;

Directed by Deborah Stimson-Snow; Music Directed by Richard Lewis

Recommended for all audiences. Please note – children under 4 will not be admitted to the theater.

FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY! The hilarious and irrepressibly charming story of everyone’s favorite ogre. In a faraway kingdom turned upside down, things get ugly when an unseemly ogre – not a handsome prince – shows up to rescue a feisty princess. Add a donkey who won’t stop talking, a vertically challenged bad guy with a “short” temper, a cookie with an attitude, and over a dozen other fairy tale misfits, and you’ve got the kind of mess that calls for a real hero. Luckily, there’s one on hand – Shrek!

Read more: http://www.steelriver.org/current-season/shrek-the-musical-thursdays-through-sundays-dec-5-22/

Broadway Musical – Spring Awakening Sept 26 – Oct 13 At Steel River Playhouse

Picture 577Contains mature themes, sexual content, and adult language

Winner of 8 Tony Awards including Best Musical, 4 Drama Desk Awards, and 4 Olivier Awards including Best Musical, “Spring Awakening” explores the journey from adolescence to adulthood with a poignancy and passion you’ll never forget.  It’s a powerful celebration of youth and self-discovery in a world of unresponsive adults.  A rock and folk musical adaptation of the Frank Wedekind’s 1891 expressionistic play about the trials, tribulations, and exhilaration of the teen years, Spring Awakening features “the most gorgeous Broadway score this decade”. (Entertainment Weekly)

For more details, click here.