By Chelsea Pyne
Twenty-Twenty has by and far demonstrated the importance of the entertainment arts. With an influx of stress, anxiety, and the like, many have turned to artists for a needed distraction, a touch of sanity, and proof of wonder in the world.
Rachel Schroeder Board President of Kernersville Little Theatre (KLT) explained, “The poor arts! We have always had to fight for ourselves to gain validity, and still, we are the first to get our funding cut. This year has been a real eye-opener in recognizing the power that performing arts has on wellness. What is so incredible about performing arts is that they appeal to our human nature and provide us with deep connections. And of course, people like to be entertained–it gives them an outlet and an escape from their reality. We all face stressful situations, but if I can watch a comedic play on Friday night, that is not only valuable to my mental health, it is a way to share a common experience with people who may think differently than me.”
KLT has been entertaining and inspiring our community for 43 years–and their optimistic, creative team will not quit now. KLT produced its first show, You Can’t Take It With You, in July 1977. Since then, hundreds of shows have been produced. Currently, they have four shows scheduled for the September-June season.
The mission of Kernersville Little Theatre is to provide an avenue for development in all aspects of theatrical arts for all within the community and to provide entertainment for the community by offering a series of well-staged performances of live theater. While KLT does not have a permanent home for their productions, that has never stopped them from making sure the show goes on. This year’s shows, The Service at Rocky Bluff (September 24, 25, and 26) and Kitchen Witches (October 15, 16, and 17), will be performed outside at Paul J. Ceiner Botanical Garden. Rachel explained, “A lot of people turned to online artists for hope. KLT recognizes our unique role to provide something for our community–and we are committed to that. We know how to adapt and safely put on an in-person show. What we lose when we cannot engage with one another is devastating to our psyche. We crave human connection in some way… so KLT is doing our absolute best to provide that safe and meaningful environment.” KLT has taken additional protocols and will cap the nightly attendance to ensure they meet safety guidelines. “We are brainstorming funny ideas for our guests, maybe even incorporating pool noodles to mark the space between seats. No matter what, we are going to adhere to social distancing, so we might as well have fun with it,” Rachel added.
This year’s season opener is jointly produced with Krossroads Playhouse. “We had a lot of things come together to make this happen. Essentially, we have pulled together artists and nonprofits in town for assistance. We are using the historic depot for rehearsal space, the stage at the botanical gardens for performance space, and several people typically in paid roles have graciously taken on director/music director/stage manager pro bono. We understand the managerial risks involved with continuing our production. We can spend six weeks rehearsing and preparing these plays for them to be suddenly canceled,” Rachel said. “Our actors are willing to sacrifice their time with never really knowing if this production will premiere. The story of people in our community coming together to try and make this happen is a beautiful story.”
Both The Service at Rocky Bluff and Kitchen Witches are wholesome comedies with a great appeal to all. They will be a wonderful kickoff point as the year slowly regains normalcy. The casts and crew are only a handful of people to keep exposure low. For more information on the upcoming shows, visit KLTheatre.com.
Board member April Marshall shared, “Arts are essential. More and more education is turning from STEM to STEAM with the inclusion of the arts which exemplifies how important the arts are. Personally, the arts (theatre) has given me my life. I truly mean that–theatre has not only provided an avocation for me but for the past 20 years it has also been my vocation. I met my husband in the theatre, and I practically raised my son in the theatre. Kernersville Little Theatre was the beginning, middle, and still the most significant part of that over the past 40 years. Theatre continues to be a way to lift our spirits, share in some fun, and provide for meaningful connection in a safe and socially responsible way. If you are lucky enough to get one of our limited tickets–come out and ‘play with us!’”
As a non-profit, all-volunteer organization, KLT has been fortunate over so many years to have the support from those within the Kernersville community and around the Triad. They are always welcoming new volunteers to their family and happy to have you “Come Play With Us.” If you are enthusiastic about learning a new skill or sharing your talents, they would love to have you! If you are interested in getting involved with KLT contact the office at 336.993.6556 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The word theatre comes from the Greeks. It means the seeing place. It is the place people come to see the truth about life and the social situation. The theatre is a spiritual and social X-ray of its time. The theatre was created to tell people the truth about life and the social situation.” – Stella Adler