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New Theater Company Opens Doors Inside Historic Home

July 16, 2017 06:32 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- While class is no longer in session in the former St. Ansgar elementary school building, its halls are still bustling with life as a new theater company moves into the historic building.

Now in its first season, the Cedar Summerstock Theater Company moved its rehearsals into the building, now called South Square and run by a non-profit group. The group also hopes to be able to house its performers in the building, the company's managing director Nancy Lee said.

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This year, the company welcomed around 10 college students studying fine arts to be a part of four shows, Lee, herself a graduate of St. Ansgar High School before getting degrees from Luther College and Boston University, said. 

Several high school students also joined the company as actors and working behind-the-scenes, giving them an opportunity to be mentored by other students and staff, Lee said.

One of those students is Maggi Steele, who attends St. Ansgar High School.

"It’s an amazing opportunity, especially because it’s such a small town and acting and performing just isn’t a big thing here, so this is a huge deal for me," she said.

And it's not just impactful for her, but also for the whole community, she said.

"Most of them don’t realize how big of a deal it is I think, so when I tell them they’re from all over the country and they had to audition and all this stuff they’re like, 'whoa, so this is actually a big deal,'  and I’m like, 'yeah, it is,'" Steele said.

Some of the actors are from as far away as Rhode Island and Texas, so having support from the community helped them feel at home.

"I’m just really overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity and how much support I feel this company is getting from the community here," David O'Connell, who studies at the University of Minnesota's Guthrie Theater BFA Actor Training Program, said. "That’s what’s going to make it last and makes it important, that’s it’s not just, 'come see our show,' it’s also give and take, it’s a community building experience."

Despite being new, Lee said the company is already selling around 100 tickets for each show, which is more than they expected.

"People have said this is amazing theater, it's really high-quality," she said.

The actors perform around five shows each week at the Cedar River Complex in Osage. If you'd like to check out their upcoming shows or purchase tickets, you can do so by visiting their website: https://www.cedarsummerstock.org/


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Logan Reigstad

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