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Performing Arts

Durango Arts Center introduces new repertory theater with ‘True West’

Jeff Graves and Geoff Johnson star in Durango Arts Repertory Theater’s inaugural production, Sam Shepard’s “True West.” (Courtesy)
Durango Arts Repertory Theater offers wide array of projects

The theater at Durango Arts Center is growing with the formation of its new Durango Arts Repertory Theater – and it wants you to come play.

Jason Lythgoe, is DART’s artistic director, along with Tess Wisher, managing director. The repertory theater is something Lythgoe had been thinking about for years.

“When I came to town to do the Strater shows six years ago and then ended up staying here to take the job at the DAC, I had many conversations with a lot of the theater people within the first year of ‘it’s great that this town has the Arts Center and has Merely Players and has the Fort and the high school, but I think there’s room for more,’” he said, adding that when the time was right at DAC, “I said, ‘Well, I’ve had this idea of an internal, actual real sustainable theater company in town, because there’s more of us and we all want to play.”

So DART was born, and the theater has hit the ground running, Lythgoe said – in fact, the group is already looking beyond what’s currently scheduled. The name, he said, is a little throwback to Durango Repertory.

If you go

WHAT: Durango Arts Center presents its first production of the Durango Arts Repertory Theater 2022 season with “True West” by Sam Shepard.

WHEN: 7 p.m. March 11, 12 and 13; and 2 p.m. March 12 and 13.

WHERE: Durango Arts Center, 802 East Second Ave.

TICKETS: $20, available online at https://bit.ly/3IBzZ48.

MORE INFORMATION: Visit durangoarts.org.

“(We) always have something happening in the building with the youth programs, with all our main stage shows, plus the theater ... and the writing projects, there’s always something happening, so technically, it might not be a ‘two-shows-at-once’ kind of rep ... I figure it kind of qualifies because we’re always working on something, we’re always creating, there’s always something new in the pipeline, and even now we’re starting to think about next season already, so it’s kind of amazing and quite daunting, but wonderful. I’m so excited to be able to helm this with Tess – she’s just a fantastic partner to do this with.”

DART will kick off its inaugural season with performances of Sam Shepard’s “True West,” which will be staged March 11, 12 and 13 at the DAC theater, 802 East Second Ave. “True West” explores the relationship between brothers Austin, a screenwriter (played by Geoff Johnson), and pushy older brother Lee (played by Jeff Graves).

“Sam Shepard writes this kind of weird underbelly of the world so well, that is just these people with their problems, but they’re real,” Lythgoe said. “It’s this theatrical performance, too, that everyone can see something in these two or three or four characters – something about real life, something about this true West, this true feel of what it’s like to be kind of not normal and just kind of living. And this one kind of being about the industry a little bit, about writing a screenplay, it’s just a lot of fun.”

DART is seeking people to get involved as actors and crew – “I want this to be everybody’s,” Lythgoe said. Auditions will be held later this month for actors and crew.

“We want company members, we want people around to help and play and sit in the booth and run lights and sound and come build sets and, like a real sense of – go do your job during the day and come and play at night at the theater,” he said.

Along with “True West,” the theater is also planning to perform “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged),” “Belleville,” “Danny and the Deep Blue Sea” and “The Rocky Horror Show.” Repertory members are also working on a new play; “Theatre for Young Audiences,” the 12th annual 10 Minute PlayFest and the second 24hr. Theatre, as well as “Wish You Were Here” postcard project, classes and more.

Audition for Durango Arts Repertory Theater

Durango Arts Center has a new theater company that will have projects of all types throughout the year.

Auditions will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 19 and from 6 to 9 p.m. March 21 at DAC.

Actors will need to audition for the company with a standard monologue package of two contrasting pieces totaling no more than 2 minutes. Separate musical auditions for “Rocky Horror” will be held in the late summer.

Directors, writers, designers, stage managers, etc., can submit a resume and letter about their theatrical experience and an interview will be scheduled separately.

Performances will include “True West,” “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare” (abridged), “Belleville,” “Danny and the Deep Blue Sea” and “The Rocky Horror Show,” as well as a new play, Theater for Young Audiences, the 12th annual 10 Minute PlayFest, the second 24hr. Theatre, Wish You Were Here postcard project, classes and more.

Visit Durangoarts.org for audition and submission information.


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