"This reminds me of an episode on Bonanza," Lionheart actor Scott King said a few years back. "This British actor comes to town with his troupe and they don't have a place to do their play so they set up in the tavern. Then Hoss and Li'l Joe make this big deal about finding other places for them to perform. This makes me think of the kind of place they would have used."
The place King referred to was The Royal, a fine arts gallery in Norcross, one of many places the once-nomadic Lionheart Theatre has set up camp in the community. All of that has changed now. The old Fellowship Praise Church, built in 1877 in the heart of Norcross, has been purchased by the city and transformed into the Norcross Cultural Arts Center and Community Center. At center stage is the Lionheart Theatre Company.
And the whole community has been in on the act.
"The city of Norcross has been doing so much for us," said Tanya Carroll, producing artistic director of Lionheart Theatre. "Rit Robertson, the manager of the facility, has helped build a really nice stage and Aurora Theatre was generous enough to give us all their old lighting."
Now that the community theatre group is finally settled, they're staging events to get more involved in the community. Coming attractions include a Christmas Break Drama Camp. Not only can kids learn acting and theatre basics in a fun, creative, no-pressure setting, but their parents can also enjoy some fun, creative, no-pressure time for Christmas shopping, gift exchanging (depending on which dates they choose), or just chilling out with friends over cappuccino.
On Saturday, Lionheart offers Theatre Fun Workshop with lots of improv, drama games and, of course, acting. In a two-day workshop on Dec. 22 and 23, kids can experience the whole gamut of theatre in A Pirate's Night Before Christmas. Activities including acting, costume and set design, makeup and best of all a real cast party after they perform for their parents. On Dec. 29 and 30, kids can act as silly as they want interpreting the classic poems of Shel Silverstein.
Carroll will be teaching along with her daughter Allie, age 15 and Hannah Green, age 13, both seasoned actresses with the company. But the fun doesn't stop there. Child actors will be needed for Lionheart's upcoming production of "Treasure Island." Anyone from the community may audition, but a little experience never hurt the quality of anyone's performance.
Reservations are required and slots are filling up fast. To get your kids in on the act call 678-838-8518 or visit www.lionhearttheatre.org. And to take on a role as a financial supporter or volunteer, you can call, or better yet, stop by the casting office. Unlike the days when this community theatre could be anywhere in the community, now you know exactly where it is.
Susan Larson is a Lilburn resident. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.